End of an era as fish firm holds final sale

Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107n  Picture: Ceri Oakes
Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107n Picture: Ceri Oakes
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IT was a “sad day” for Whitby and the end of an era as the last fish auction under Alliance took place on Friday morning.

Just three fish merchants were waiting for the trawler Pamela S to land – a stark contrast to the market’s heyday when up to 30 people would be bidding for the catch of the day.

Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107h  Picture: Ceri Oakes

Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107h Picture: Ceri Oakes

It was an emotional day for Andy Pearson who brought the hammer down on his last auction after 22 years working for Alliance.

In a few weeks he will be signing on after helping Alliance tie up loose ends.

He told the Gazette: “I have been here a long time and it feels a bit strange and I suppose it does feel a bit emotional.

“We used to have 20 to 30 people on a daily basis. It is down to, on a bad day, four or five at the most really.”

Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107p  Picture: Ceri Oakes

Feature at last ever ALliance Fish Lrd auction''w112107p Picture: Ceri Oakes

Ironically, the last fish market for Alliance saw over 15 different species caught and prices ranging from 50p for coley to £8.50 for Dover sole.

There was also a supply of trout, squid, monkfish, brill, turbot and skate in addition to the more common landings of whiting, cod, haddock and lobster.

Mr Pearson added: “There was a good mixture of fish.

“That has been the beauty of the job, you never know from one day to the next what will happen and prices differ.”

Arnold Locker from Lockers Fish said Whitby Fish Market actually has some of the best facilities around and used to have a reputation to match.

He added: “There is no need to go to North Shields at all.

“Whitby is renowned for good quality fish – that is how we made our name.

“When I was a fisherman, we got together with local fish merchants to see exactly what they needed and we were successful at providing that.

“From 24 hours at sea this is one person’s catch.

“If we had four or five boats then the business would be back but when you have got bureaucrats signing agreements in Brussels and they don’t know what they are signing, this is what happens.”

A company called Whitby Fish Sales Ltd has been formed and is in talks with Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) about taking over the market.