Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is to run extra sailings between the
Western Isles and Skye to allow local produce extra time to beat the Olympics and
get to market on time.
The Western Isles Fishermen’s Association (WIFA) raised concerns that delays imposed
by the Olympic Games would affect the freshness of their catches and potentially
lead to lost business.
Shellfish like prawns and scallops landed by island boats are trucked down south
for onward export to important markets on the continent.
But they will have to negotiate extra road and security restrictions introduced in
the South of England because of the Olympics.
The extra sailings will operate between Lochmaddy and Uig on Mondays and Wednesdays
for seven weeks between July 23 and September 5.
CalMac’s Head of Operations Brian Fulton said: “We are very aware of the importance
of this business to the local economy and because we considered this to be exceptional
circumstances, worked with Transport Scotland to find a way of ensuring the security
and road restrictions, which everyone accepts is necessary, did not unintentionally
impact on the deliveries of fresh produce.
“The late sailings on Monday and Wednesday nights will provide the extra time required
and has the added advantage of providing additional capacity for islanders and visitors
travelling to or from North Uist during this period. We are grateful for the Government’s
support in making these additional sailings possible.”