Almost a year on from the introduction of the new electronic sales system at Scrabster, it has been confirmed that its success will set to become a permanent feature of the market. February saw the value of fish landed at the harbour rise by £468,000 compared to last year, from £2.677m to £3.145m – an increase of 18%. Tonnage rose by 13%, from 1,213t to 1,372t.

Whilst many of the vessels landing into the port consign fish for sale elsewhere, or have direct contracts with buyers supplying UK supermarkets, the traditional shout auction remains an important part of the attraction of landing to the port.

As the anniversary of the electric sales notes trial approaches, David-John McRobbie of The Don Fishing Company confirmed that it will become a permanent fixture, with the likelihood of the system being rolled out in other Scottish markets. The bespoke Aucxis KOSMOS system is not set up for remote bidding, and in essence is a technical upgrade to the traditional shout auction.

“Scrabster harbour had to upgrade its WiFi capacity to allow the KOSMOS system to be introduced seamlessly, but we’re more than satisfied with the performance of the system,” he told Fishing News. “This doesn’t replace the traditional elements of the shout auction, but it does allow instant provision from the auctioneer – in Scrabster, this is John S Duncan, a subsidiary of Don Fishing that has been providing this service in the port for 50 years.”

William Calder of Scrabster Seafoods said that the system had bedded in with little fuss. “The system was implemented relatively quickly, with little disruption – the only difference was the format in which the sales transactions were recorded.

“Buying information comes out a lot quicker in comparison to the old system, which can only be a good thing. It allows the ability to cross-reference prior to export paperwork or transport manifests being produced, which is a great help.”

Despite much discussion in 2023 about moves to introduce changes to the shout auction in Peterhead, which sparked some fierce discussion in the port between Peterhead Port Authority, fishermen and buyers, the UK’s premier whitefish port continues to operate in the traditional manner.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

Sign up to Fishing News’ FREE e-newsletter here

Main image credit: Jim Cowie


Subscribe to Fishing News magazine today; never miss an issue and save 55%!