The latest statistics from Lerwick Port Authority show reduced traffic at Shetland's principal port in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2009.
Cargo handled was down 5.2% at 190,500 tonnes, due to lower activity in the offshore oil and gas industry which also impacted on vessel movements, down 10.9% at 1,152, with tonnage falling by 5.6% to 1.8 million gross tonnes.
Sandra Laurenson, the Port Authority’s Chief Executive, commented: “The lower level of offshore industry operations had a significant impact on traffic, but there are some grounds for cautious optimism on the back of industry plans.
“Passenger traffic held steady in the first three months, with more than 17,300 using ferries. This quarter will include increased ferry passenger numbers as a result of the volcanic ash restrictions on flying and the first arrivals in what could be a record-breaking cruise ship season. Yacht races in June will contribute to visitor numbers.”
Fish landings totalled 28,596 tonnes valued at £ 21.4 million, down 4% on volume and 24% on value. White fish, at 2,468 tonnes worth £3.7 million were lower by 24.8% on volume and 24% on value, while the price per tonne increased by 0.86% to average £1,512 per tonne.
Ms Laurenson explained: “White fish landings continue to be affected by very restrictive days at sea legislation, while pelagic landings were affected by the early migration westwards in the autumn of winter mackerel, with both volume and value down.”
The period also saw landings of blue whiting to Shetland Catch for human consumption and a limited quantity landed at Heogan, Bressay, for fishmeal.