NORTHUMBERLAND FISH PRODUCERS FUNDING BOOST Published: 20 September, 2011
Northumberlands fish producers and harbours are benefitting from over £100,000 of European funding.
More than £46,000 of the money, from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), has been awarded to Lindisfarne Oysters, Swallow Fish of Seahouses and L Robson and Sons of Craster, who are using it towards processing equipment. In addition a further £57,000 has also been provided towards improvements to harbours in Seahouses and Amble.
Lindisfarne Oysters was recently awarded over £32,000, which will be used towards an £80,000 expansion of the processing unit on its farm. This is turn will help to improve oyster washing and grading processes and increase production by over 100,000 oysters per year. The farm is based on the site of oyster beds originally established by the monks of Lindisfarne Priory in the 1300s.
Christopher Sutherland of Lindisfarne Oysters said: “When I first took over the farm from my father in 2003 the numbers of oysters we produced was very low, but weve continued to build our knowledge and skills and hope to eventually produce up to 250,000 a year by 2013.
This is the second grant weve received through European funding schemes, the first was in 2007 for a specialist oyster boat, which made the process of farming the oysters significantly easier.
The latest grant will help us significantly with our expansion plans as it will help us to put the necessary infrastructure in place.
The company also has a retail partnership with Swallow Fish Ltd which, along with L Robson and Sons, previously received £7,000 funding through the EFF towards herring splitting machines for the production of kippers.
Owner of Swallow Fish Ltd and former fisherman Patrick Wilkin said: The grant we received is helping us to adopt the most modern production technology within our historic smokehouses. These have been in existence since 1843 and have even been credited as being one of the possible places the kipper was invented.
The money awarded to help local harbours is also of benefit to us, the environment and our customers too. We are proud to source and offer fresh local fish, which has been transported minimal distance for processing.
Fishing vessels at Seahouses which supply Swallow Fish Ltd, including the Madonna, Unity and Glad Tidings, are also benefitting from improved facilities funded through the EFF scheme. The harbour commissioners have been granted more than £46,000 towards developments including new storage for fishermen and helping to reduce the effect of swell conditions in the harbour.
In addition Amble harbour has benefitted from an EFF grant of over £9,000 towards a new fuel tank for use by local fishing vessels.
Through the EFF scheme, which runs until the end of 2013, around £138 million has been made available towards helping the English fishing industry adapt to changing circumstances.