Tiree community enterprise boosts island’s fishing industry

The new pier extension and on-pier under cover facilities, Milton Harbour, Tiree, showing Neil MacPhail’s boat Swiftsure tied up alongside. Photograph: Andy Wright/Tiree Community Development Trust.

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The island of Tiree has received a long-term boost to its fishing industry from the timely delivery of a major project by a community enterprise .

Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd has completed the much-needed refurbishment of Milton Harbour and the creation of covered landing and sorting facilities.

The project cost £1,164,955 in total, including just under £350,000 from Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE).

It has improved the harbour by raising the height of the quays, extending the pier and providing a new quayside facility.

Tiree’s five shellfish boats can now tie up and unload safely, and sort their catch efficiently in the new shed, resulting in increased capacity and improved catch quality.

Fisherman Neil MacPhail said: ‘Since we have moved back into Milton, the pier improvements have proved to be everything we had hoped for and more. Loading the catch is taking half the time with so much less manual input and more space.

‘The buyer is extremely happy with packaging and grading under cover in the shed and the resulting catch quality.

‘For the first winter in 25 years, I am looking forward to sleeping peacefully when there are southerly gales and spring tides.’

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, added: ‘We were keen to support this project as improved pier facilities mean a secure future for the Tiree fleet. This is a huge benefit allowing safe berthing in all weathers and increased capacity and quality of the catch.

‘In practical terms, this investment means up to 20 good jobs are secured on the island, with all fishermen and most of their crews local to Tiree. This contributes to the local economy and community resilience, including supporting the schools on Tiree and Islay.

‘We congratulate the Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd on completing this project, which will benefit the fishing industry in Tiree for years to come.’