A HUGE increase in oil-related traffic has given a boost to Lerwick harbour this year.
Lerwick Port Authority reported on Wednesday that the number of offshore industry vessels had risen by more than half during the first nine months of the year, when compared to last year’s figures.
By 30 September a total of 426 oil ships had entered the port, up 55 per cent on last year, with tonnage up 58 per cent to 1.4 million gross tonnes and cargo up 55 per cent to 64,875 tonnes.
However a decline in fishing meant that overall there were fewer vessels visiting Lerwick, down by 1.7 per cent to 4,177. Yet with the size of ships increasing, overall tonnage was up 15 per cent to 8.8 million gross tonnes.
Total fish landings were down 26 per cent on volume, but up 4.8 per cent on value at £55.7 million.
White fish was down 10 per cent on volume, but up 2.5 per cent on value at £12.2 million for 6,757 tonnes, while pelagic species were down 27 per cent on volume and up 5.5 per cent on value at £41.6 million for 41,480 tonnes.
Blue whiting has barely featured this year, but the herring were healthy in August and mackerel have been doing well in October.
Port chief executive Sandra Laurenson said the was more work going on to attract more oil vessels and decommissioning work to its deep water berths.
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