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News from Mallaig Harbour: July 2023

By September 13, 2023News

The weather broke, just in time for the school holidays, and this meant that we had to postpone the proposed Sea Angling Competition on 1st July. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain stays off long enough on Saturday 8th July for us to host our first Marina Fun Day since 2019. 

Fishing has remained steady throughout the month, and prices for shellfish have been good. We have welcomed a few visiting boats throughout the month, although not as many as last year. There have also been some changes to the well boats harvesting salmon this month, with the Ronja Challenger being redeployed to Canada, and the Ronja Viking operating from Mallaig throughout the month.

We held our AGM on Friday 16th June, and said goodbye to Shona MacLeay, who had served her first term as a Board Member, and, due to other commitments, had decided not to reapply. We welcomed Peter Hillier, who had been co-opted onto the Board last year, as a full Board Member.

It has felt like a month of meetings – after the disappointment of not getting the DEFRA funding we are looking at various alternatives, which has involved lots of discussion with various groups and organisations to raise the profile of what we are trying to do.

Many of you will have seen the news last week that Mairi McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, announced that the proposal to develop HPMAs (Highly Protected Marine Areas) as consulted on, will not be progressed. This means that the Government will no longer seek to implement HPMAs across 10 per cent of Scotland’s seas by 2026. Although this was widely reported on as HPMA’s being scrapped, it’s actually not as straightforward as this. The government intends to develop a new pathway and timetable for their work to enhance marine protection, which will be in line with their draft biodiversity strategy and ambition for Scotland to be nature positive by 2030. However, there was a recognition that this needs to be done in consultation with the communities impacted, so we will look forward to engaging with whatever comes next, and working with the fishing industry locally to ensure the best possible outcomes for the local area. Prior to the Ministerial announcement, the Seafood Sector had gathered at the Scottish Parliament on 15th June to launch a petition urging the Government to scrap HPMAs. You can find more detail on the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation website, www.sff.co.uk.

We welcomed the Lord of the Isles back to Mallaig on 30th June, so for the moment we have a full complement of ferries – lets hope it stays that way for at least the duration of the summer holidays!

We’re a member of staff down at the Harbour at the moment, as Hugh Cameron was able to take advantage of a cancelation at short notice to have a knee operation done, which means that he will be off for much of the summer. Thanks are due to Danny, Simon and Sandy, who are covering and making sure everything runs smoothly in Hugh’s absence. We’ve welcomed back Ross Carr to cover days off at the Marina for the busier summer months.

This month we have granted a lease to Mallaig Men’s Shed for one of the units within the Prawn Market to get themselves established. We’ve also donated the old portacabin from the Marina to them, and it will be moved to the rear of the Prawn Market. Having a base will allow the Men’s Shed to be open more frequently throughout the week, and a bit more space will allow them to take on some small projects. We’re not promising the breakfast rolls that Michelle has been spoiling them with at their regular Monday meetings in the Community Centre though – they might have to make their own tea and coffee! If you are passing the prawn market and see them there, call in for a cup of tea and a blether, and to find out what they are up to – everyone is welcome, young and old!

Finally, we have had a very special visitor to the Harbour Office on more than one occasion this month – baby Fergus McKay De Wilde is Audrey’s second grandchild, and was born on 18th June. Congratulations to Fiona and Leo, and to Granny Audrey!

Jacqueline McDonell

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