Tayvallich has never been a major fishing port but there has always been small-scale fishing from both Tayvallich and Carsaig. During the last twenty-five years there has been an increase in fishing activity, primarily by visiting vessels from the Kintyre ports of Tarbert, Campbeltown and Carradale. Today the industry supports some three local boats and half a dozen men full time, and is a significant aspect of both the local economy and the life of the village. Many residents and visitors have enjoyed the local angling aspect of fishing during the summer months, although no one operates fishing trips on a commercial basis.
Tayvallich has two outlets to the sea, east and west. From the village bay, up to half a dozen boats work down Loch Sween and into the Sound of Jura. Half a mile to the West of Tayvallich is Carsaig, which lies on the Sound of Jura, and offers access to the North and South.
Tayvallich Bay is a well-sheltered haven and offers a safe anchorage and an all-tide pier to load/unload with a minimum depth of five feet at low water Springs. The pier is administered locally. The access and fairway to the inner harbour have a minimum depth of five feet, and eight feet clear at high water. It should be noted that the tidal effect is much influenced by the prevailing wind direction and there is insufficient rise and fall to allow reliable drying out. Furthermore, in the winter months, ice in the inner bay is a marked hazard.
Fuelling needs to be arranged privately by tanker delivery, and there are no other alongside facilities. Stores may be obtained locally, and a blacksmith and shipwright offer limited repair facilities.
Carsaig bay has a stone jetty that dries out frequently at low water. Local knowledge is required to access the pier and no facilities are available. There is limited safe anchorage in the outer bay.
Methods of fishing
Two or three local boats work from Tayvallich/Carsaig year-round. Mainly they work the langoustine fishery with pots in the deep water of the Sound of Jura, or to the West of Jura, landing their catch most days. Local divers prosecute the scallop fishery from Carsaig through the summer months. The small local fleet is supplemented by seasonal visits from small creel boats fishing for velvet crabs on the shallow coastal grounds. Larger trawlers in the fifty feet class occasionally land prawns and lie overnight, as do the scallop dredgers who have been regular visitors since the 1970s. Other aspects that are pursued by the smaller vessels include Brown crab, Lobsters and Whelks. The buyers are established businesses in the area, who onward sell, primarily to the continental market. The catches are contract, rather than auction sold. Since it became established in the late 1960s, it has been the langoustine (locally known as prawn) fishery that has become of particular significance locally and the lobster/brown crab has similarly dwindled in importance. The scallop fishery, also of great significance, has been blighted in the last two years by toxic algae closures, and remains a continuing concern.
The farming community in the area welcome visitors and ramblers who follow the Country Code but do request in particular, that you leave gates as you find them, keep all dogs on leads – and enjoy your visit.