Highland Council is to lease one of its more unusual assets – a mussel fishery dating back to the early 17th century.
The Ross and Cromarty area committee, meeting yesterday (WED) in Dingwall, agreed that the facility was surplus to requirement and should be rented out to a private operator.
Councillors, however, held back from selling the local authority’s mussel fishing boat, as had been recomended by a council officer.
Tain and Easter Ross councillor and deputy council leader Alasdair Rhind won support for a proposal that the vessel, the fishing licence and ancilliary equipment be kept in Lochinver until local interest is gauged.
Mussel fishing rights within the Dornoch Firth were first granted to Tain in Easter Ross by James VI in 1612.
In the 1980s, the former Ross and Cromarty District Council took over the fishery. It was later inherited by Highland Council.
It has not made money in recent years.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Rhind said: “The valuable resource that we have is the boat and its licence. We shouldn’t sell that.
“Hopefully, and I think confidently, there are one or two people locally who would like to have a look at it and that’s a step in the right direction.”