Plymouth City Council is fighting for the fishing industry’s future with its successful Call 4 Fish initiative (@Call4Fish on Twitter) and a call to the UK Government to do more to help a sector on the brink of collapse.
The Council has today written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to lobby for urgent additional support for fishing.
Fishing is a key sector, not only to the Plymouth economy where it supports over 2,000 jobs, but also to many communities across the South West peninsula. Across the three ports of Newlyn, Plymouth and Brixham over £110 million fish are landed every year. Covid-19 is having a significant impact, bringing the fishing sector to the brink of collapse.
The Council supported the creation of Call 4 Fish, which connects the public and organisations directly with suppliers who are able to deliver fish direct to doorsteps, with an injection of £10,000 of funding to get it up and running. This provided immediate support to local fishing businesses.
Call 4 Fish launched on 24 March and has already connected with over 293,000 people. It has been so successful that it is now branching out to other ports across the UK with 15 areas now signed up to provide the ‘quay to kerb’ service to the public.
Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “We want to keep the port open, keep livelihoods going and keep people fishing, and to do that we need the government to take urgent action. As a local authority, we have done everything within our power and have supported the launch of Call 4 Fish, which is now being rolled out nationwide. But more needs to be done. Gaps in the current support for businesses need to be filled and more substantial interventions need to be put in place urgently to support our fishing industry.”
Plymouth has called on Government for urgent action in four key areas:
- Ensure that fishing boats can be categorized as small businesses with premises, enabling them to be eligible for grants
Currently fishers do not qualify for the business support grants as fishing boats are not deemed as premises in the eligibility criteria.
- Create a flexible funding pot which will enable innovative local solutions to challenges
Every local authority is identifying new, locally specific challenges to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. A decentralised pot of funding would enable rapid and efficient implementation of innovative solutions, giving local authorities greater discretion to solve issues with solutions such as Call 4 Fish.
- Secure the fishing market with a commercial price for fish
As the price of fish has plummeted for many markets, Plymouth is asking the government to secure the market price of fish to prevent sector collapse.
- Support to keep fishing ports open and operating
The fishing sector is dependent on a viable and functioning port. Plymouth would welcome support to ensure that the fishing port, commercially operated by Sutton Harbour Holdings is able to remain open and boats can continue to go to sea.
Source: Plymouth City Council