Huge cash injection for Whitby – Fishupdate.com

Huge cash injection for Whitby Published:  07 June, 2007

THE North Yorkshire port of Whitby, and its shellfish sector in particular, is set to receive a major boost after the Yorkshire and Humber Seafood Group (YHSG) secured funding, which will see the town receive a big cash injection to help build a much needed development.

Work will begin shortly on a £345,000 shellfish holding facility, which is expected to be up and running by Christmas. The work, which has qualified for a £175,000 grant from the MFA under FIFG will provide a huge boost to the port, which has 20 vessels dedicated to the shellfish sector.

Currently Whitby does not have a dedicated shellfish holding area so the state-of-the-art complex will provide much needed purpose-built facilities. It will bring particular benefits to the industry and will offer opportunities for the development of a velvet crab fishery. Whitby fishermen have not been able to take advantage of this resource and the centre will allow them to maximise their time at sea.

In addition, the centre – which will help to safeguard the future of Whitby as a prime fishing port – will give it the potential to expand its shellfish activities through a move into the nephrops sector, adding high value catches like prawns and langoustines. All of which will ease the pressures on the fleet and the market.

The centre has been three years in the planning and development stages, but it was given added impetus with the formation of the YHSG last year. The group has been able to mobilise the widest industry support and secure the co-operation, for the first time in Whitby’s case, of all sectors of the fishing industry from catchers through processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.

More importantly perhaps, the group, which secures funding from a number of sources including Yorkshire Forward, FIFG and the private sector, has ensured hard cash is available for a quick start on building work.

Carl James, YHSG project director, is delighted that the hard work which has gone on behind the scenes to bring the centre about will soon reap tangible rewards.

He said: “This is a development that has long been needed in Whitby. It is one which will not only safeguard existing jobs locally, but will bring an initial two new jobs with the possibility of more later.

“It is another example of the faith that industry has in the sector and shows our confidence in the long term sustainable future of North Sea fisheries. The holding facility will mean that fishermen can look towards harvesting new species, add value to existing catches and take some pressure off their traditional catch and provide them with an additional income stream.”

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