The fish market has remained operational through the coronavirus lockdown by enacting strict social-distancing protocols which allowed them to continue providing an essential service the fish buyers and consumers.
Peter Duncan, Head of Fishing – Commercial, said: “The current segregation of stakeholders and distancing measures that are in place along with the utilisation of extended open walkways between each tier of fish, allows each individual the space to physically distance in the auction room floor when required.
“This has been a crucial factor that has allowed Peterhead Fish Market to remain operational for the facilitation of the whitefish auction during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, there is a need to continually monitor our operation. Peterhead Fish Market will continue to follow the advice set out by our government. Our steps will be careful, gradual and incremental as we implement the changes required to return to full capacity of the auction.”
Auctions on Mondays and Fridays have been attracting more vessels landing their catch, and on occasions vessels have had to lay over until the following day.
Mr Duncan said: “With this in mind we intend to increase the auction room floor capacity from 5000 boxes to 6500 boxes on Monday and Friday auctions only. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday auctions will remain at the current 5000 box capacity; this can be adjusted if necessary.
“Currently each vessel is allocated 50% of its box count for auction floor space, and this will continue on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday auctions. We will be adjusting space allocation to 40% on Mondays and Fridays, thus allowing us to increase capacity while keeping the vital physical distancing measures and stakeholder segregation in place.”
Each vessel is still responsible for the way in which they utilise this space for the laydown of their fish on the auction floor. This will be initially implemented on Friday 29th May and Monday 1st June and will continue each Friday and Monday thereafter.
This change is in line with the government’s “Phase 1” restrictions which are:
- Physical distancing requirements in place.
- Frequent handwashing and hygiene measures for all.
- Cough etiquette is maintained.
- Face coverings in enclosed public spaces, including public transport.
“As with all restrictions in place at this time we will continue to monitor the situation, adjusting where necessary to ensure that our stakeholders receive the best possible service in the safest possible conditions. I trust you will continue to work alongside Peterhead Port Authority during these difficult times.”
Source: Peterhead Port Authority