Ice plant opens at Plymouth Fisheries as part of £1.2m boost for the region’s fishing industry

Plymouth Fisheries has unveiled a new ice production facility at its Sutton Harbour base as part of an ongoing £1.2million investment in supporting the region’s fishing industry.

The new ice plant, which will guarantee the provision of ice on site 24 hours a day, was officially opened by Peter Hartland, Chief Executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, and Richard Stevens, Chairman of the chamber, in recognition of the economic benefits brought about by Plymouth Fisheries revitalising the local fishing industry over the last 20 years.

Now England’s second largest fresh fish market, Plymouth Fisheries has seen turnover increase by £17.95million since the fish market relocated to custom-built new premises in Sutton Harbour in 1995.

The ice plant is part of an ongoing investment in the market by owners Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, and the project has been part funded by a £300,000 grant from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), administered by the Marine Management Organisation MMO, and supported by Plymouth Trawler Agents, which operate the market’s auction.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master and Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: “A constant supply of ice is absolutely essential, the whole fishing industry depends on it. Fish have to be iced at sea as soon as they are caught and gutted to maintain the quality and freshness so that they reach the market in prime condition. All our customers need access to a reliable supply of ice from the fishermen who catch the fish, the Trawler Agents who use it in the sorting and grading process prior to sale, and the wholesale buyers who need ice to maintain the quality as they add value and sell on to the consumer. It was vital for Plymouth Fisheries to replace the old plant which has been in use since 1995 to make sure the market continues to meet the needs of our fishermen for the next 20 years to come.”

Jason Schofield, Chief Executive of Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, said: “This new ice plant is a much-needed addition to the thriving fishing industry in Sutton Harbour, and will ensure Plymouth Fisheries strengthens its position as the second largest fresh fish market in England - and one of the best places in the region to land a catch. Plymouth Fisheries is dedicated to supporting the region’s fishing industry and anything we can do to improve the service available for local fishermen will continue to help the fish market grow and thrive, and further boost the fishing industry as a whole.”

Plymouth Fisheries has become a key fisheries hub for the South West, sustaining over 600 direct and indirect jobs, and fish landed at other ports across Devon and Cornwall is often transported to be sold in Plymouth.

Peter Hartland, Chief Executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’m delighted to be able to officially open this new ice plant for Plymouth Fisheries. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, Plymouth Fisheries has provided a positive impact on our local economy through the direct and indirect jobs it provides and the various locally caught fish sold across the region and exported throughout the world.

“As one of the key drivers of our local economy it’s positive to see the investment that Sutton Harbour Holdings plc has made to support this development. I wish Plymouth Fisheries every success in its continued growth plans.”

Richard Stevens, Chairman of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “Plymouth Fisheries has helped to make a substantial difference to both the South West fishing industry and to the local economy in Plymouth, and the ongoing investment by Sutton Harbour Holdings plc in upgrading the fisheries complex helps secure that contribution for the future, which is fantastic news.”

The ice plant features four ice machines and separate storage units so Plymouth Fisheries will be able to offer a continuous supply of ice to fishermen, even if one machine is undergoing maintenance.