Following the sustained period of severe weather that has restricted fishing all around the UK, boats were starting to head out again from Peterhead in the middle of last week.
The combination of poor weather, quota shortages and ongoing market issues due to Covid and Brexit have led a number of local boats to seek guard work, while others have taken the decision to tie up until things improve.
Others have utilised this as an opportune moment to schedule maintenance and refits.
The early part of last week saw continuing unsettled weather in the North Sea, with southerly and southeasterly winds reaching gale force. The boats that were fishing took advantage of small weather windows to get trips in. With winds beginning to ease from Wednesday evening and conditions for the next few days looking more favourable, there was a marked shift in the harbour as more boats headed back to sea.
The local pelagic vessels Lunar Bow and Pathway were due to sail last Friday morning, having waited for a favourable window for the 700-mile trip to the blue whiting grounds west of Ireland, where Danish and Norwegian midwater trawlers have been fishing since the second week of February. Other Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Shetland vessels are expected to join the fishery over the next couple of weeks.