Fishermen upbeat as Alison Kay returns

The Alison Kay crew. From left: skipper James Anderson, John Mair, Walter Johnson, John William Simpson, Stuart Pearson, Terry Laurenson and Kevin Ritch.

THE NEWLY extended whitefish boat Alison Kay sailed into Scalloway on Tuesday morning following a major £1 million overhaul in a Danish shipyard.

Skippered by James Anderson from Skerries, the boat steamed back to Shetland overnight from the Kartensens shipyard in Skagen, where she was lengthened by four metres.

It makes the boat, named after Anderson’s sister and originally built in the same shipyard back in 2001, among the biggest in Shetland’s whitefish fleet at just over 28 metres long.


A 3.5-metre new hull section was inserted, while the wheelhouse has also been raised by a metre and moved aft.

Work has been done on the vessel’s fish handling system, with new gear stores built on the main and trawl decks, some of the ageing pipework has been renewed and a new cabin has been added underneath the wheelhouse.

Anderson said: “The hold has been working at its capacity, and it’s not so easy for the men when it gets like that,” he said. “With the discard ban coming in, quotas seem to be going up and probably we will need more space.”

The newly extended Alison Kay at Scalloway on Wednesday. Photo: Shetnews/Hans J. Marter

The skipper said he and the crew – the boat is owned by seven shareholders who are employed full time – were delighted with how the boat handled on a smooth trip across the North Sea.

“She’s a bit faster and much more stable with the reduced draught and extra length,” he said.

“We’re really pleased with the quality of the work that has been done and are looking forward to getting her out to sea fishing.”


Anderson told Shetland News it was almost 15 years to the day since she was first built.

He and the crew were thankful to local fish agents LHD for its assistance with funding the upgrade, along with the Clydesdale Bank which provided loan support.

“The older loans are dropping off now, so our debt would have been just about gone,” Anderson said. “We’ll have this debt, but it’s less of a commitment as what we’ve carried up until now.”

Having been out of action for three months since making their last landing on 5 January, the crew will spend Thursday getting the gear back on board and intend to head off to fish for cod and monkfish to the west of Shetland this weekend.

Skipper James Anderson is upbeat about the state of the fishing industry.

The million-pound investment suggests a thriving business, and Anderson is upbeat about the Shetland industry with quotas rising and the fall in oil prices making fuel cheaper.

“As long as there’s plenty of fish about, I always think that every other thing will always sort itself out,” he said. “It’s a long-term investment, the fishing.”

It is the latest whitefish investment, following on from the arrival of the new Guardian Angell last year. Two new whitefish boats are also under construction.

Parkol Marine Engineering of Whitby is building a 27m seiner/trawler for the Resilient Fishing Company Ltd.


She is scheduled to be delivered to skipper Arthur Polson and partners Edward Jamieson, John Montgomery and John Irvine this summer.

The Whalsay company has just sold its current vessel, Resilient LK 195, to Tomas Whelahan of Clogherhead in County Louth.

Meanwhile the Tranquility Fishing Company Ltd, also of Whalsay, has ordered a new 27.5m vessel from the Danish shipyard Vestvæflet ApS, due for delivery in March 2018 to replace the current 26.6m seine-netter Tranquility LK 63.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins said: “This investment marks a return of confidence to the whitefish fleet following three years of record landings here in Shetland.

“Despite the scale of the task we have to make the landings obligation work, crews are determined to build a future for themselves.”