New £3.6m West Country fish market in operation –

New £3.6m West Country fish market in operation Published:  19 February, 2009

THE West Country’s increasingly important fishing industry has a new showpiece fish market – at Appledore in North Devon.

The new £3.6 million facility, which replaces an older outdated fish dock, is now in operation after the official opening recently by the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies. It will allow more fish to be landed and enable local fishermen to process their catches faster and in modern hygienic surroundings.The project has also involved the construction of a new ice plant and fish processing building and refurbishing and extending two existing buildings to provide fish storage and processing facilities, as well as a training room and office space for up to 12 local businesses.

Funding has come from the South West of England Regional Development Agency, from Europe, the local district council and a contribution from a local fishermen’s co-operative. Mr Irranca-Davies, who was taken on a tour of the new fish market, said that these were “challenging times” but that the dock represented a “vote of confidence in a viable and valuable future for the industry”.

But local fishermen, who welcomed the new development, told the Minister that action was needed on quotas and above all they wanted a better deal on fish catches especially in fishing grounds in and around the Bristol Channel. Meanwhile, plans are well in hand for an £8-million revamp of another West Country fish market – at the larger port of Brixham in South Devon.