Buckie was the largest town in the old county of Banff and is still one of the largest in Moray District. With its close associations with the sea, it is no surprise that Buckie's principle industry is fishing. Cluny Harbour was completed in 1880 and was then one of the finest harbours in the northeast of Scotland. An earlier, but smaller harbour at Buckpool was completed in 1857 by the Board of Fisheries and Sir Robert Gordon of Letterfourie. It was designed and engineered by the firm of D and T Stevenson (associated with author Robert Louis Stevenson's father.) Having become too small for use by modern shipping and fallen into decay, the harbour has been filled in and landscaped to provide an attractive park.
Fishing has been carried out in Cullen for the past 500 years, and the picturesque huddle of the Seatown with its colourful painted houses and twisting lanes date in parts from the 17th century. The small harbour developed in 1817, once busy with herring fishing, is now mainly used for pleasure craft. The village specialised in the export of smoked haddock and has its own delicacy, Cullen Skink, a type of thick soup which is still enjoyed today.
The brightly painted fisherman's cottages clustered around the harbour of Findochty originated from the need to use oil paints to protect against the winter weather. All of the old part of Findochty has been accorded the status of a conservation area. The earliest documentary reference to "Findochty-field" dates from 1440. In 1568 the Ord family acquired the "manor, port, custom and fishers' lands" of Findochty, and later built the castle, now a ruin, which stands just west of the village. Busy as a fishing port in the 18th and 19th centuries, today the harbour is mainly used for leisure craft.
The village of Portgordon takes its name from Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, who was responsible for the foundation of the village in 1797. The Duke had the harbour constructed in order to have a fishing station on his estate. For much of the 19th century the port was one of the busiest in Banffshire. However, by the early 20th century the demands of the maritime trades proved too much for the small harbour and these moved elsewhere.
Founded in 1677, the fishing village of Portknockie flourished during the herring boom in the 19th century. Located on the clifftops along the Moray Firth, one of the main focal points of Portknockie is the Bow Fiddle Rock, a large rock structure that has been carved over the centuries by the sea and weather. Birds that breed here include herring gulls, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed gulls, fulmars, cormorants, shags and occasionally gannets.