Optimism over harbour’s future

Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor

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A report delivered to Whitby Harbour Board on Monday (3 Oct) highlighted a growing sense of optimism around the port.

Harbour master Ian Vasey explained that although the amount of fish landed in Whitby has been declining, this trend is expected to reverse in the near future.

Completed investments in varying amenities around the harbour have also meant that services and security are on the increase.

In two years the total value of fish landed has dropped from £1,225,212 between April and August 2009, to £874,464 between April and August 2011.

Mr Vasey sought to reassure the board however and said: “White fish catches are continuing to show a downward spiral, but there’s an increase in wharfage due to shellfish and it’s anticipated that over the next quarter vessels that are currently on guard duty will start fishing again.”

The market provided by Whitby Fish Sales has steadily grown in popularity throughout the summer and now often holds six markets per week.

The temporary provision of ice, supplemented by imports from Hull, has worked well and the harbour master added that “the operator of the shellfish holding facility says this is probably one of the best seasons in his experience in terms of lobster landed.”

Elsewhere around the harbour the investment in navigational aids have been completed, and the iconic historic beacons at the ends of both pier extensions have been thoroughly overhauled.

An additional CCTV camera has also been installed, improving security in the harbour.

Whitby Harbour Board responded positively to the news with coun Sandra Turner saying: “I think it’s extremely pleasing that things are picking up in the harbour”, and chairman Mike Cockerill adding: “It shows the benefit of working in partnership with business people and commercial companies.”

Coun Herbert Tindall added: “I’m pleased to see that the market place has been revitalised.

“We did get really worried about it at one stage, but I think we can have faith.

“I think the fishing industry is going to come back, I have every faith in that.

“I think once the EU has its head around the rules and regulations, I’m positive we can look forward to a vibrant fish market again.”