Net gains as the fish market flourishes

Busy day at Whitby fish market''Trevor Douglass from Whitby Sea fish
Busy day at Whitby fish market''Trevor Douglass from Whitby Sea fish

THE OWNER of the company which came to the rescue of the fish market says he is delighted with the way the venture is going so far.

Whitby Fish Sales Ltd has just completed its first quarter of trading and director Shaun Wood said that while massive changes weren’t planned the company was not losing any money.

For the first time in a while boxes of fish line the quay

For the first time in a while boxes of fish line the quay

He came in at the eleventh hour to take on the running of the fish market after Alliance stopped trading in May.

He told the Gazette: “We have just completed our first quarter and it has gone all right. We are feasible and have not lost any money.

“There has not been a lot of change, don’t get me wrong but we didn’t want a lot of change. We just wanted the facility there and for Whitby to keep its own fleet, for Whitby merchants to stock Whitby shops with Whitby catches. I never got into it for the money. I knew it would be tight but my heart is in the right place.”

Mr Wood, whose business is based in Scarborough, said he had cut down on a lot of the costs that Alliance incurred and now just employed one full time member of staff.

Whitby Fish Sales has been successful in obtaining a grant of £18,000 to provide an ice machine on the quayside and applications for further grants for another ice machine and insulation of the fish market are in the pipeline.

He said it was like a catch 22 situation because the infrastructure has to be in place to attract vessels to use the fish market and its facilities but on the other hand demand has to be there to make spending the money worthwhile.

Most of Whitby’s trawlers, including Emulate, Good Intent and Abbie Lee, are on guard duty rather than fishing but Mr Wood is hopeful they will be landing again soon.

“They have been doing guard duty in fortnight stints so there is no fish on the market.

“But that will come to an end and they will have enough days at sea and quota to fish from the end of September all the way up to Christmas.

“That will be fantastic and figures will really improve in the last quarter of the year compared to what they have been lately.”

Figures will surely have been boosted from one of the best landings seen in Whitby for some time when last month James Locker brought home over 400 boxes of different species of fish on Our Lass 2.

Mr Wood said: “It was such a long time since we have seen a local boat land the best part of 400 boxes on the market. I am 41 now and it made me feel 25 again.

“It was fantastic to see, the market was at capacity, there was local crew, a local boat, local auctioneer and local merchants buying it.”

The growing success also shows signs of recovery within fish stocks, which led to the European laws and quotas that have placed so much strain on the fishing industry.

He added: “The fish is still there and with the lack of fishing going on I think in ten years time the stocks will be 50 per cent back to where they should be and we can move forward from there in a sustainable state.”