Summer Rose

Summer Rose

Scalloper packed with technology

The successful performance over the last decade of two scallopers were a key factor in the decision by John McAlister to go back to the same yard for a new vessel.

Dave Moore

The 19 metre automated scallopers Ròis Mhàiri OB-45 and Star of Jura OB-278, built by Parkol Marine Engineering in 2005 and 2006 respectively, have given years of good service to the Star Fishing Company, an equal partnership between John McAlister (Oban) Ltd and Seafood Ecosse Ltd in Peterhead. So it was logical for John McAlister to take the order for the new Summer Rose to the same yard.

Built by Parkol in Whitby to a new round bilge hull form developed by SC McAllister & Co, Summer Rose is designed to fish up to eleven dredges each side, worked with outer hull tipping doors and a system of catch hoppers and conveyors.

10-tonne gilsons are positioned on the shelterdeck and the 20-tonnr split trawl winches are located forward on the main deck

Designer Ian Paton was presented with a number of challenges with requirements for the new scalloper to be under ticket size (16.49m registered length), while also keeping the towing points forward of the rudder stock for the optimum manoeuvrability needed for tight turns around peaks, ground edges and wrecks. The effort that went into this has paid off, as sea trials showed that Summer Rose turns on a sixpence.

As well as the new hull design, Summer Rose features a set of hydraulic towing arms, a large diameter, slow-running propeller, and a new version triple rudder, plus an aft shelterdeck to optimise crew safety.

John McAlister with skippers Ian Fletcher and Ian McAlister

The working arrangements are for Summer Rose to fish three- to four-day trips, kept short to ensure quality stays high, and started with a couple of shakedown trips off eastern England before heading north to get into a pattern of fishing around Scotland, landing in Campbeltown, Mallaig, Scrabster, Fraserburgh and Oban, with options to operate over a wider area.

Summer Rose is skippered by Ian McAlister and Ian Fletcher, who also sails as Ròis Mhàiri’s relief skipper.

‘A lot of people have put a huge amount of effort into the design and build of Summer Rose, for which we are very grateful’ said owner John McAlister.

‘Having previously built two new boats at Whitby, we had no hesitation in returning for a third. Improving on well proven and successful boats is not easy, but initial indications are that this has been achieved by all those who contributed. Although more challenging situations will no doubt be experienced sooner rather than later, the early signs are very promising, in terms of ease of working, fuel consumption and seakeeping qualities, while the level of build quality speaks for itself.’


John McAlister commented that it is high time scallop fishermen were given credit for their achievements in conserving stock levels and promoting the long-term sustainability of our industry, instead of being continually on the receiving end of criticism from people who fail to make an effort to understand how the scallop fleet operates, at the same time as grounds are increasingly being lost to windfarms and MPAs.

‘Summer Rose represents a large-scale investment by two family run companies, and is a strong statement of the confidence we have in the future of scallop fishing. We need and want a sustainable fishery. Fishermen look after their heartbeat, – scallop stocks, and certainly don’t invest in an industry to destroy it,’ he said.

Summer Rose will harvest some of the same grounds that I worked twenty, thirty, forty years ago. How more sustainable can any fishermen be than that? For decades scallopers have continually fished areas for a short period before moving away from it for a few months. Thirty or forty years ago this was taken as a given, today it is a valuable part of sustainability. Yet every time another area is closed off to scalloping, this works against long-term sustainability, and inevitably the fishing method, rather than management method, is all too conveniently blamed.’

He said that scallop fishing is managed to the point that this is one of the UK’s most regulated fisheries, as the camera systems on board Summer Rose demonstrate.

‘There is a raft of regulations and restrictions. Scallop fishermen are required to fund the cost of these regulations themselves –  is all too conveniently overlooked. In recent years there has been a large-scale expansion in the use of static gear, yet Marine Scotland has no comparable management measures in place for static gear. Is that consistent fisheries management?’ he asked.