Plymouth Fishing and Seafood Association (PFSA) is looking at the feasibility of reopening the Plymouth fishmarket.

The market closed recently with the winding up of Plymouth Trawler Agents (PTA), and fish is currently being sent for sale to Brixham and Newlyn markets.

While this is a temporary solution, it is adding costs and reducing income for both the fishermen and merchants in the port.

PFSA chief executive Ed Baker said: “We propose creating a new company that would be run as a co-operative, and we are asking for all those interested in potentially buying shares to please contact us.

“Specifically, we are asking existing shareholders of PTA if they would reinvest. We are also encouraging all vessel owners that intend to land into Plymouth and local merchants to consider becoming part of the co-operative to ensure we can have a profitable community-led fishmarket in Plymouth.”

He said PFSA believes the market can run at an initial profit of roughly £50,000 from a turnover of £10.5m, and a start-up share capital of at least £400,000 will be needed.

“If the majority of vessels landing into Plymouth were also shareholders in the business, this would ensure continued landings and long-term profitability for a new market,” said Ed Baker.

“We do not yet have any agreement with Sutton Harbour, but in order to take this further, we need to understand the level of support from the industry.”

PFSA held a meeting last week with Plymouth Council, but while it was supportive, it was unable to make any comment during the pre-election ‘purdah’ period.

Ed Baker told FN: “It’s expensive to send fish to Brixham. Newlyn is still providing a free collection service, but in Newlyn it will always arrive a day later than if it was being sold normally in Plymouth.

“And in most cases when fish are sent to Brixham, it will also arrive a day later. There are a couple of days a week when the truck might be leaving at midday, so if you finish your trip early, you might get the midday truck and therefore the following day’s market. But even that is not guaranteeing the E+ quality grade that the handliners are used to.

“The costs and delays involved in transporting catches to Brixham and Newlyn are causing a reduction in the value of fishermen’s catches.”

The situation is also hitting Plymouth’s fish merchants. They have to bring fish back from Brixham or Newlyn, which means they can’t process their purchases until mid-morning or sometimes later, whereas they would normally start processing their fish by 8am.

“There is some functionality, but it’s nowhere near as good as with our own market, and nobody in Plymouth is benefiting from it,” said Ed Baker.

“Beyond rumours, there is still no guarantee of anyone else coming in to set up another auction here, so we have to do something.”

Anyone interested in becoming a shareholder in a new market should contact Ed Baker at: or on: 07534 409336.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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Main image credit: Ed Baker


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