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‘Honeymoon over’ for fishing fleet freeloaders

Tools of the trade for crab and lobster fishermen are these pots. Stacked ready for work in Whitby, North Yorkshire, they provide a foreground to the back drop of a fishing town which has seen  trade move from fishing and whaling to tourism.   april 25 2001    poss pic post

Tools of the trade for crab and lobster fishermen are these pots. Stacked ready for work in Whitby, North Yorkshire, they provide a foreground to the back drop of a fishing town which has seen trade move from fishing and whaling to tourism. april 25 2001 poss pic post

THE OWNER of Whitby Fish Sales has said that the ‘honeymoon is over’ for skippers who are failing to support the market.

Amid enduring rumours that the fish market may close in the new year, Shaun Wood has reaffirmed his commitment to Whitby, but said he has grown frustrated at some skippers who are “taking the mickey”.

While vessels such as Whitby Rose, Eagernoon or Carousel continue to frequent the market, other skippers are dodging fees on landing by arranging their own resale.

Although Mr Wood accepts that this allows skippers to avoid paying Whitby Fish Sales an amount of commission, he added that these skippers should then expect to have to pay if they intend to use the market’s facilities.

He said: “If people don’t want to use us that’s not a problem, but nothing’s going to be free any more. For the ones who haven’t paid, the honeymoon’s over. I have given them the other option and they are not paying so I’m going to be the black sheep now.”

Currently, Mr Wood said skippers are taking ice and using boxes and the forklift truck owned by Whitby Fish Sales, but they are not repaying them by utilising the market.

To combat this he intends to install a new set of charges. “Why would you give us two per cent of your money if it’s costing someone else nothing?” he said. “What’s going to happen is come Christmas members of Whitby Fish Sales will be able to purchase ice for £2.50. But anybody that doesn’t go through us, I’m charging £5. So if they borrow the forklift, it’s going to cost. We don’t need their business but they’re not using our st uff for free any more.”

Whitby Fish Sales have purchased items to assist the infrastructure of the fish market, including an ice machine, new scales and the forklift truck. In response many skippers have been loyal to the market by using it on a regular basis. This allows a reserve to be gathered to allow for repairs should mechanical failures occur.

But Mr Wood said that when the ice machine required £450 of repairs and he asked skippers who use the machine to contribute, most refused. He added: “We’re making mugs of ourselves because the ones that are supporting us are subsidising those that aren’t, and that will have to come to an end. It’s up to those people to make a decision. Either become a member or stick to what you’re doing. But don’t come running to us when you can’t get your fish on a wagon at four in a morning.”

 

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