AN INCREASE in fishing vessels using Lerwick Harbour was the largest single factor behind an 11.4 per cent rise to 4,256 in arrivals at the Shetland port in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in 2007.
Between January and September 1,712 boats – up 14 per cent – landed a total of 92,706 tonnes of fish, valued at £43.2 million, up 10 per cent on volume and 25 per cent on value.
The figures included 7,704 tonnes of whitefish, with a value of £12.1 million, up 15 per cent on volume, and 22 per cent on value, with the price per tonne up 6.2 per cent to average £1,575 per tonne.
Pelagic fish landings were also higher, up 16 per cent on volume and 33 per cent on value, including blue whiting landed for human consumption. Deliveries to the Heogan factory held steady while shellfish landings rose 70 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “The fishing industry is having a busy year and continues to be a cornerstone of activity at the harbour where we have also seen a further increase in cargo, including offshore industry shipments.”
The port handled 703,475 tonnes of cargo, up eight per cent, including oil-related shipments which increased 16 per cent to 116,949 tonnes.
Oil-related arrivals were up by 8.5 per cent, reflecting an increase in supply ships, but fewer specialist vessels and the fact Lerwick is no longer a port-of-call for the ferry Norröna saw the overall tonnage of shipping down 10.8 per cent at 7.2 million gross tonnes.
There were 958 pilotage movements during the nine-month period, down 2.3 per cent, with the 4.4 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted down 7.6 per cent.
Passenger numbers were down five per cent at 107,891.
A total of 40 cruise ships – including the largest yet – are already booked for 2009.