Downturn in offshore activity hits harbour in first quarter
There was reduced traffic in Lerwick Harbour in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2009, according to the latest statistics from the port authority.
Cargo handled was down 5.2 per cent at 190,500 tonnes, due to lower activity in the offshore oil and gas industry which also impacted on vessel movements, down 10.9per cent at 1,152, with tonnage falling by 5.6 per cent to 1.8 million gross tonnes.
Port authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “The lower level of offshore industry operations had a significant impact on traffic, but there are some grounds for cautious optimism on the back of industry plans.
“Passenger traffic held steady in the first three months, with more than 17,300 using ferries. This quarter will include increased ferry passenger numbers as a result of the volcanic ash restrictions on flying and the first arrivals in what could be a record-breaking cruise ship season. Yacht races in June will contribute to visitor numbers.”
Fish landings totalled 28,596 tonnes, valued at £ 21.4 million, down four per cent on volume and 24 per cent on value. Whitefish, at 2,468 tonnes worth £3.7 million, was lower by 24.8 per cent on volume and 24 per cent on value, while the price per tonne increased by 0.86 per cent to average £1,512 per tonne.
Ms Laurenson said: “Whitefish landings continue to be affected by very restrictive days at sea legislation, while pelagic landings were affected by the early migration westwards in the autumn of winter mackerel, with both volume and value down.”
The period also saw landings of blue whiting to Shetland Catch for human consumption and a limited quantity landed at Heogan in Bressay for fishmeal.