WHITBY’S fishing industry will never recover enough to sustain the harbour.
The stark warning came from Tony Hornigold, a member of the Whitby Harbour Board, at a heated extraordinary meeting of Whitby Town Council on Tuesday night.
He had been confronted with a list of 18 questions from Coun Ken Graham, who called the meeting because of increasing concerns about the state of the harbour and whether the leisure users are getting more investment than the commercial side.
Coun Graham, also a boat owner, said: “This is the most money-making part.
“But when you see the neglect in the fish quay, Dock End and New Quay Road it is unbelievable. There should be a better balance of resources for all the harbour.”
Mr Hornigold told the meeting money was allocated to improving car parking and a new fuelling facility for boats was in the pipeline.
But he said Whitby had to look beyond the fishing industry if the harbour was to survive.
He added: “As far as the commercial sector is concerned there is a tremendous thrust to improve facilities for the commercial sector.
“The fishing situation is declining all the time.
“We might get an improvement when we get rid of the discards but the local development is to do with windfarms, so much so we are looking at the opportunities all the time.
“Fishing is not going to get better in five or 10 years’ time and even investing in a fairly big way we will not go back to the days of the 80s when we had 20 or 30 trawlers.”
Mr Hornigold said the harbour board, users and the council should capitalise on Whitby being the nearest port to Dogger Bank.
In preparation for the local jobs that might arise from the development, the fishing school was taking windfarm courses and apprenticeships suited to such a development.
He said: “I don’t want to see wind farms on the North York Moors – I would prefer them to be out at sea and we are the people that can facilitate that.”
Coun Graham suggested a harbours committee of the town council be set up to ensure better communications and to work for the future of the harbour, which was agreed.