Fish port modernisation rethink urged –

Fish port modernisation rethink urged Published:  24 June, 2009

THE fishing industry in Cornwall is being urged to rethink its plans for modernising Newlyn Fish Market – the largest in the region – following a funding blow from the Marine and Fisheries Agency.

The MFA grants panel for the European Fisheries Fund has turned down an application by the Newlyn Harbours Commission for a £2.29 million grant for the redevelopment of the market and fishing port.

The Newlyn Commissioners have now been invited by the MFA to to make a new bid for consideration by the September grants panel. The deadline for that bid is the end of July.The MFA said it fully understood the need to support sustainable and competitive fisheries..

The largest port user W. Stevenson and Sons, had two months earlier insisted that the modernisation plans were not economically viable, but the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, has urged the entire industry to take a new look at the plans and come up with fresh ideas in time to meet the July deadline. It said a fundamental rethink was now necessary.

The chairman of the MFA panel, Ray Hedley, said it was the agency’s duty to ensure the taxpayer received the best possible value for money.

The panel decided that the business case for this application was weak for a number of reasons, but Mr Hedley added: ‘This is by no means the end of the matter. We are sure that the good work done in the preparation of this application will not be wasted.’