Whitby Harbour hopes for a return to business as usual

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Fisherman Richard Brewer has shared his views on reports of money coming into Whitby harbour and what it could mean for the industry.

As the owner of Copious and someone who still fishes and lands out of Whitby on a regular basis, he was keen to focus on some of the issues that have been overlooked.

“So far nothing has been given,” he explained. “£14 million is not for the fishing industry per se but the harbour. All the funding is still to be fought for and Whitby does need that funding badly.

“Alf Roberts and Sandra Tyreman have been fighting for the harbour and I have been seconded on as I’m the last full-time big boat here.”

He credits Sean Wood with keeping the market here in Whitby going.

“If we’d lost that it would have been a catastrophe. Sean, along with Darren Butcher, wants us to land in Whitby along with other boats. We’d love to get that situation going again.If money raised to fund improvements happens then they would love a small portion to be re-invested back into the fish market.

“We’re hoping to get simple equipment to help us get ice. Key to a good operation is the combination of boats being able to re-fuel, have a quick turnaround with landing their catch and get back out to sea. Then we could encourage other boats and tell them to come and land, get ice and go back out fishing. We need something like they have in North Shields where they have two bays to put fish.

“ In the summer we always have people asking what’s going on, where’s the fleet? We want to keep our landing facilities. There’s no reason with stocks recovering that we can’t fish like we used to.

“Due to legislation we were forced out of our area, it was like an ethnic cleansing of the Whitby fleet. If we wanted to fish we had to travel further away. Hopefully if we get help and fuel we can spread the word and get some boats back into Whitby.”

Richard felt Whitby and Scarborough’s councils have been keen to help.

“It’s been unanimous and the right people are on board but it’s not a quick fix.”

In the meantime, Richard has had the novel idea of painting the bell buoy out at sea so it says ‘Whitby still open for business’. This would lift the hearts of many people and put it back on the fishing map.

Richard spent time in London and saw several establishments advertising that they sold Whitby fish.

“I tasted it and it wasn’t from here. If it hasn’t been caught by a Whitby vessel and landed here then it’s blatantly not Whitby fish. We need to be able to brand it as ours and protect the name.”