An agreement has been reached between Macduff Harbour and Marine Scotland to relax designated port status regulations, which have been in force for more than a decade.

Above: Increased landing flexibility will benefit Macduff Harbour and the large number of vessels that use the port for repair and maintenance work.

Although it is not a designated landing port, due to its logistical importance Marine Scotland will now allow vessels to land larger volumes of fish – including sensitive species – when using harbour facilities.

Depending on the species of fish, skippers have been permitted to land small catches, but not if the catch is comprised of more than two tons of species such as cod or hake. Vessels will now be able to land their catch and use port facilities at Macduff – saving time and, ultimately, money.

The new agreement has been well received by the local fishing industry and could make a significant difference to the future services provided by the harbour, operated by Aberdeenshire Council.

Harbours officer Duncan Mackie said the agreement is excellent news for the harbour and local fishermen.

“This is one of the many innovations Macduff Harbour is currently working on to regenerate the harbour, ensuring customers are offered the best range of services possible,” said Duncan Mackie.

“Such innovations include new parking facilities at the bank head area of the harbour, participation in the Fishing for Litter scheme run by KIMO, and the recycling of discarded fishing equipment.”


The level of landings at Macduff are expected to rise following the new agreement now in place.

Macduff branch chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA), John Clark, welcomed the ‘absolutely great’ news.

He said: “This has the possibility to bring a lot of needed revenue into Macduff Harbour. It seems there will be no more having to land catches in other ports ‘en route’ to taking our boats home to Macduff.”

Chairman of Macduff Harbour Advisory Committee, Councillor Mark Findlater, said the news had been greeted with real enthusiasm from committee members.

“The Macduff Harbour masterplan is in full flow and this all adds to the regeneration of Macduff and its wonderful working harbour, as well as being a boon for the local fishing industry,” he said.

“Having a KIMO skip now at the harbour is brilliant and it will be well used as part of the Fishing for Litter scheme. All fishermen in the North East are great custodians of the sea and will, I am sure, use this facility well.”

Cabinet secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, said: “This is great news for the fishing sector and coastal community in and around Macduff.

“It’s clear that Macduff offers valued logistical support to the Scottish fishing fleet, which is why we are pleased to be able to offer Macduff Harbour users increased flexibility to land their catch.

“This new agreement will provide hardworking crews with convenience, reduce owners’ operating costs and increase the attractiveness of the port’s facilities and services. It is an example of this government’s determination to drive forward the rural economy in Scotland.”

Vessels will still have to provide advance notification of their intention to land at Macduff, but Marine Scotland will now permit landings of cod etc. allowing vessels to use port facilities for care or maintenance immediately following the notified landing.

Prior to the new agreement, vessels had to land larger catches or those of sensitive species at other designated ports before travelling to Macduff to use the port facilities, such as the slipway.

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