A SCARBOROUGH businessman has stepped in to save Whitby’s troubled fish market.
Shaun Wood, of Scarborough-based TG Wood, formed a new company – Whitby Fish Sales Ltd – and a two-year deal has been agreed with Scarborough Council.
The news follows an announcement earlier this year that Alliance Fish was scaling down operations in the port.
Mr Wood said: “Our first markets have started already. Everything has gone fine.
“It is very little at the moment but there is no ice facilities on the pier – that stops the big boats coming in.”
He added that there were plans to install new ice making machines which were able to produce ice for the trawlers in the hope of attracting the vessels back to Whitby.
He said: “The existing ice house that no one is using really just needs knocking down, the building isn’t fit for purpose.
“It’s a big industrial thing that takes a lot of money to run, it’s a black hole in someone’s pocket.”
It is hoped that the two new £18,000 ice machines will be housed in the current market building, which will itself be divided up between the auction room and an ice storage area.
Mr Wood said: “We are going to relocate the ice house to the fish market, which has ample space.
“The two machines will make a tonne and a half of ice a day and each trawler needs two tonnes of ice each trip.
“We are going to have a holding bay and I would like to think that it’s going to hold up to ten tonnes of ice, so we could fill every trawler we have got and still have two tonnes left.
“If we are running the machines 24/7 then the fish market has really improved.”
Darren Butcher, who worked for Alliance, will carry on as the auctioneer and Mr Wood said Alliance had been very helpful to the new company.
He added: “He has been fantastic, extremely helpful. They have not been difficult because this is to do with the fish market and the fishermen.”
Cllr Mike Cockerill, chairman of Whitby Harbour Board, said it would do all it could to see the fishing heritage and tradition of Whitby harbour retained but it was essential local and visiting fishermen continued to make use of the facilities provided at Whitby harbour.
Earlier this week council figures revealed a general decline in the amount of white fish landed in Scarborough in just three years – while shellfish figures remained stable.