UK chancellor Rishi Sunak visited the West Quay at Newhaven on 6 January, as part of a wider visit to the Channel port.

Based along the river Ouse upstream of the yacht marina, the historic Newhaven fleet, a mixture of mainly netters and under-15m trawlers, has suffered recently from a variety of issues, highlighted last year when vessel owners sailed up the Thames as part of a joint protest with Greenpeace to highlight the impact that the large fleet of EU fly-seiners are having on stocks in the English Channel (Fishing News, 30 September, ‘SE fishermen take protest to parliament’).

During his visit, the chancellor met with local fishermen and learned of plans for the £13m government support announced, from its Levelling Up Fund, for work to improve landing and berthing capacity for the local fleet, and support development of a new processing centre and market for local landings.

Following his visit, Rishi Sunak said: “It is fantastic to see this in action today in Newhaven, where our investment is set to rejuvenate the local fishing industry, create jobs and boost the local economy.”

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, leader of Lewes District Council, said: “The West Quay Fisheries project, which is expected to complete in 2024, will provide two new fish landing stages to accommodate 16 smaller vessels. Funding will also enable the building of a seafood processing centre that will feature an auction room and marketplace, helping to establish Newhaven as the go-to centre for the local fishing industry.”

MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield said: “Since being elected I have been working hard with the fishing community to improve the fishing infrastructure, not just with their boats, but also with fish processing, to help them develop and grow their businesses.

“It is really important to me that with all the government investment going into the town that the fishing community is not forgotten, and having the ability to land more fish and then sell it at a local fish restaurant on the West Beach will be an incredible win for the town.”

The redevelopment is expected to take several years, and will require detailed oceanographical and environmental surveys before work on the quays can commence. A spokesperson for Lewes Council told Fishing News: “The first tranche of funds are expected to arrive in February.

“It is too early to develop architect’s plans for the development – this will come after initial technical studies have been completed.”

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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