More fish was landed in Plymouth last month than during any other month since the fish market first opened almost two decades ago.
Plymouth Fisheries, England’s second largest fresh fish market based at Sutton Harbour, reported record landings for October, with the unseasonably warm weather late into the year thought to be one reason behind the increase.
Gross sales of fish sold at auction at Plymouth’s thriving fisheries hub exceeded £2.14million in October, compared to £1.22million during the same month last year. This is believed to be the highest amount sold during a month-long period since the fish market first opened in Sutton Lock in 1995.
The high profits are also largely the result of especially diverse range of species being offered for sale last month, which experts believe is the result of warmer weather in the autumn months.
Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour and Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: “October was probably the best month for landings at Plymouth since we opened the new fish market back in 1995.
“The transition between summer and winter has been proceeded at a slow pace this year, and species of fish more associated with summer fishing have remained on the ground, whilst traditional autumn runs of cuttlefish and monkfish have appeared in good numbers. We have also seen a good showing of herring and pilchards often shoaling close inshore.
“Good catches of red mullet, dories, bass and Dover sole along with the cuttlefish have provided a good living for the fishing fleet working on grounds local to Plymouth, and this is in contrast to previous years when skippers generally had to travel further to the east for the best fishing in the autumn and early winter months.”
The news follows positive figures released in September by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in its annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2013 report, which showed that the amount of cod, haddock and whiting landed into the three major South West fishing ports last year increased by 10 per cent.
The increase in the amount of demersal fish such as cod being landed in Plymouth, Brixham and Newlyn rose to 13,300 tonnes in 2013, the highest level for 10 years, which Plymouth Fisheries manager Pete Bromley said showed that fish stocks were “healthy and being fished at sustainable levels”.
Last year, Plymouth had the second highest quantity of landings in England, with 11,600 tonnes of fish including shellfish landed, with a value of £13.5million.
Fish landed at many other South West ports is regularly transported to be sold through Plymouth Fisheries because the market is unique in the region by offering an electronic auction system, operated by Plymouth Trawler Agents, which ensures fishermen receive a fair price for their catch.
Plymouth Fisheries sells more than 6,000 tonnes of fish every year – of which 75 per cent arrives by road – and is viewed by many as the fisheries hub of the region, sustaining over 600 direct and indirect jobs.
Sutton Harbour Holdings plc is currently investing in improving and updating facilities at the fish market, and work is well underway on the construction of a vital new £1.2million ice production facility due to open in early 2015 to enable Plymouth Fisheries to strengthen its position as one of the best places in the region to land a catch.
Plymouth Fisheries is located 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.