Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Plymouth could become the new epicentre of English fishing

Plymouth could become the new epicentre of English fishing, with the Council’s draft Plan for Sustainable Fishing aiming to revitalise the industry in the city.

Fishing has always been a part of the city’s DNA and the Council’s recent research has shown that the industry has been growing steadily over the last 20 years.

In fact it could be said it was the industry that founded the original settlement. Now the Council is launching the first stage of a renaissance in fishing, with the draft Plan for Sustainable Fishing.

Council leader Tudor Evans OBE said: “Fishing matters. There is so much to be proud of: the heritage, the variety of fish caught, the breadth of the fleet. There is nowhere else with our pedigree but we need to be prepared for change and ready to seize any opportunities that arise. As we exit the EU, this industry’s fortunes could dramatically change. As Britain’s Ocean City, we need to do all we can to support an industry that is so pivotal to our story. We want to help fishing take advantage of the new Fishing Bill and negotiations of the fishing policy following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

“We secured funding from the European Marine Fisheries Funding and employed consultants Arcadis, who have been looking ahead and exploring what needs to happen for the industry to capitalise on this change.”

Themes include:
• The right facilities - regenerate the Fish Market and the Fish Quay. This could form a key element of the city’s National Marine Park plans and celebrate our rich maritime and fishing culture 
• Supporting people with a career in fishing - with the average skipper is aged 54 and a crew member 38, the plan puts forward ideas to bring in more women, former military personnel and schools leavers as well as improving training.
• Sustainability - Plymouth could be a test facility for greener buildings, cleaner propulsion systems for the fleet.
• Policy support and lobbying - lobby to ensure the best deal for Plymouth fisheries in the trade negotiations with the EU to ensure our mixed fleet grows and prospers as well as lobby to be administrative capital of fishing in the UK
• The right business support for growth: Raising finance to support growth can be an issue. Help could come in the form of a new legal body or fishing co-op to help with easier access to finance.

Plymouth’s fishing industry is currently strong. It is home to the second largest fresh fish market and lands around 13 per cent of England’s total fish catch each year. It directly employs over 480 people and over 1,920 in the wider supply chain. Between 50 and 60 per cent of the fish sold at the market arrives by land from surrounding towns and villages, showing how vital the fish market is to the region.

The Council has put together a draft plan and wants to hear what the trade and its stakeholders think about ideas that could help the city seize opportunities as well as address some of the challenges the industry faces.

Cabinet will meet on 10 March to look at the draft plan and to recommend a consultation gets underway later this month.

Full story courtesy of Plymouth City Council