Peterhead welcomes largest white fish visitor to-date

The Kirkella is the largest white fish vessel to have put down anchor in the port.
The Kirkella is the largest white fish vessel to have put down anchor in the port.

One of the largest and most advanced white fish vessels in the UK arrived in Peterhead recently

The Hull-registered Kirella was christened by Princess Anne in London in April this year and supplies fish to eight per cent of fish and chip shops across the UK and red fish to the Japanese market.

It is the largest white fish vessel to have put down anchor in the port.

Its crew comprises men from Iceland, Scotland and England, with the first mate, Peterhead man Mark McGorrin, having the honour of sailing the vessel down the Thames and recruiting the present crew alongside North East College’s Fraserburgh campus.

Mark (47), has been a fisherman since his teens and was delighted to be at the helm once again when the vessel arrived in the Blue toon at the end of August.

The Kirkella is based out of Hull and Mark said it was fantastic to sail her down the Thames for the Christening event.

“It was an amazing time going through Tower Bridge,” he said. We had a battleship on one side and a cruise liner on the other. We came off the boat and went down to the marquee where the Princess Royal arrived to carry out the christening.

“She had a look around the vessel and was very impressed by what she saw.”

Mark said following the ceremony all involved headed to the Cutty Sark restaurant where £2,500 of fish caught by the Kirkella was eaten.

Working around six months a year on the Kirkella, Mark says he usually spends the rest of the time at home or on holiday.

“When we go fishing we see the fjords of Norway as we go to Tromso quite often.

“You also get to see the Northern Lights which is quite nice, but it’s a bit difficult when your’e concentrating on steering the boat!”

On arriving in Peterhead, Mark said: “Our families met us at the harbour to see the vessel come in and see around it.

“There were two others from the north-east aboard and three others from Scotland.”

The whistle-stop visit saw the Kirkell arrive in port at around 8.30am and set sail again for England at 10.30am.

The Kirkella is 81m long and carries 30 crew members with each trawl typically lasting anywhere between 30 minutes and six hours.

It can store up to 780 tonnes of filleted fish, with fish reaching the on-board freezers within 40 minutes of being caught.