Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Brixham number one - again!

Taking the number one spot, Brixham Trawler Agents Barry Young is all smiles

BRIXHAM’S fishing industry is ‘buzzing’ and looking forward to a ‘bright future’ as an annual report shows that the amount of fish landed in the port has increased by 10 per cent and is the highest catch in both quantity and value in England.

Figures from the UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2013 report recently published by the Marine Management Organisation show the value of the port and others. The report shows that the amount of demersal fish – those living on or near the seabed and feeding on the bottom, including haddock, cod and whiting – being landed into Brixham, Plymouth and Newlyn increased by 10 per cent to its highest level in 10 years, showing that fish stocks are ‘healthy and being fished at sustainable levels’.

Brixham had the highest quantity of landings in England last year with 13,500 tonnes of fish including shellfish landed during 2013, with a value of £24million. Plymouth had the second highest quantity of landings with 11,600 tonnes of fish, with a value of £13.5million.

Barry Young, director and chief auctioneer at Brixham Trawler Agents, said the report was ‘very good news’. He said: “Last year was a very good year although our turnover was down on 2012. If we hadn’t had the bad weather in November and December it would have been an exceptional year. “At the beginning of this year, fishermen didn’t catch much and the processors would have had to empty their freezers. I believe they are now trying to get their stock back up. “The port seems to be buzzing at the moment. There’s a bit of an uplift. Everyone thinks there’s a bright future ahead.”

Overall, landing figures show a decrease on the figures for 2012, when Plymouth had the highest quantity of landings in England with 15,748 tonnes, and the national trend has seen a drop of one per cent in quantity across the UK, with the overall figures for fish landed by UK vessels down to 624,000 tonnes, and a seven per cent drop in value down to £718million.

Cpt Jim Portus, CEO of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, welcomed the MMO figures. He said the league table was ‘the restoration of a position that’s normal’ and Plymouth had the highest quantity of landings in 2012 due to a particular company’s investment in mackerel boats. He said: “There are some high value fish in Brixham. We’ve got good variety on the doorstep. “Fishermen are limited in the amount of time they can spend at sea by regulation and the weather. The size of the fleet hasn’t changed significantly so the figures must be down to the fact the stocks are doing pretty well. “While the figures show the sustainability of the fishing industry and of the fish itself, next year’s figures may well show a downturn because of the turbulent weather we have experienced earlier this year which affected the fleets badly.

“The main ports — Brixham, Plymouth and Newlyn — were affected similarly by the bad weather in January and February so it won’t affect the league table but there’s every possibility the figures will have been hit. The tonnages can only be made up if we have a really successful period to December. “The industry is still making money which is good for our region. But the figures don’t show the cost of catching fish.”

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