New Ice Plant for Fish Market Starts to Take Shape

Work is well underway on the vital new £1.2million ice production and chilling facilities being created at Plymouth Fisheries.

Groundwork is now complete on the first stage of this upgrade, with foundations laid for the ice production facility which will enable Plymouth Fisheries to strengthen its position as the second largest fresh fish market in England - and one of the best places in the region to land a catch.

Construction work will soon start on the structure to house the ice plant, with the completed facility expected to be up and running at the fish market in Sutton Harbour in early 2015.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour and Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: 

“The initial stages of groundwork were completed last week with the piles going in, and a brand new power cable is now being laid from the main sub station to the new ice plant.

“The construction team is working carefully around us to reduce any disruption to the day to day activity at the market, so Plymouth Fisheries continues to be fully operational throughout the build.”

The ice plant is part of a major investment in the market by owners Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, and the project is being part funded by a £400,000 grant from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), administered by the Marine Management Organisation MMO, and supported by Plymouth Trawler Agents Ltd, which operates the auction at Plymouth Fisheries.

The ice plant will enable four separate machines to run, capable of producing 30 tonnes of ice over a 24hr period. This will provide an essential service for fishermen, and ensures Plymouth Fisheries can offer a continuous supply of ice, even if one machine needs to undergo maintenance.

Pete Bromley added: “We depend on being able to supply fishermen and merchants with high quality ice. Fish need to be kept chilled from the moment they are caught and ice is an essential part of the chill chain, preserving the quality of the fish from sea to plate. Whatever we can do to improve the service we offer fishermen at Plymouth Fisheries, including being able to supply ice 24 hours a day no matter what, will help the fish market in Plymouth to thrive.”

Plymouth Fisheries recently celebrated the news that Plymouth had the second highest quantity of landings in England last year, after figures were published by the UK Sea Fisheries Statistics for 2013. The report showed 11,600 tonnes of fish including shellfish were landed in Plymouth during 2013, with a value of £13.5million. This figure was second only to Brixham for the country.Fish landed at many other South West ports is often transported to be sold through Plymouth Fisheries at Sutton Harbour, and the fish market sells more than 6,000 tonnes of fish every year – of which 75 per cent arrives by road.

Many fishermen choose to drive to Plymouth to sell their catch because the fish market is unique in the region, offering the only electronic auction system – operated by Plymouth Trawler Agents – which ensures they can receive a fair price for their catch.

As a result, Plymouth Fisheries is viewed by many as the fisheries hub of the region, sustaining over 600 direct and indirect jobs. Plymouth Fisheries opened in 1995 at the entrance to Sutton Harbour near the 

National Marine Aquarium. It can accommodate vessels up to 5.5 metre draft and has 110 metres of landing quays, operating 24 hours a day. As well as ice, fuel and water are also available on site.