Harbour infrastructure improvements were discussed by Whitby Harbour Board this week as the group seeks to help boost the fishing industry in the town.
With fishermen in Bridlington landing over three times as much catch into that port during 2012 than Whitby fishermen managed, the board has accepted that major infrastructure improvements are required if the local industry is to get back on its feet.
In 2012 UK vessels landed over 995 tonnes of fish into Whitby worth over £2.2m.
This is compared with Bridlington where 3,131 tonnes of fish worth £6.44m was landed.
While Whitby declines, the East Yorkshire port is going from strength to strength and Bridlington’s figures are an increase on 2011 when 2,644 tonnes was landed, worth £5.69 million.
While industrial pressures such as the restrictions on whitefish quotas are making life difficult for fishermen, there is a sense that the harbour itself could be improved to make life easier for the skippers who are trying to make a living out of Whitby.
For example, board member Herbert Tindall said: “The one complaint I have had to listen to over and over again is the state of the fenders at the fish market. Is there any chance of getting them done quickly?”
Martin Lloyd, SBC structural engineer, informed the harbour board that a large-scale inspection of harbour assets had been completed, with areas requiring urgent work identified.
These are the Fish Market fenders, estimated to cost around £50,000; the £55,000 stabilisation of Kiddies Corner; Dock End and Marina car park resurfacing, costing £20,000; and the repair of the timber structure at the Fish Quay, costing £20,000.
The fuel berth will receive a £105,000 protection upgrade, while strengthening of the sheet piling at Endeavour Wharf will cost £250,000.
Harbour board chair Mike Cockerill said that funding is available for these improvements, while applications have also been made to Marine Management Organisation, which are “looking quite positive”.
Allocated funding would need to be spent within the next financial year and so Coun Cockerill said the improvements are imminent. “Watch this space,” he added.
The £4.8m which was awarded for coastal protection from the Environment Agency will be used to protect the pier and may also include the installation of a flood gate at Battery Parade. See page 7 for a photograph, taken on Thursday, of how important this could be.