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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 15:18 GMT
Fishing towns' hopes for revival
Man in fish and chip shop
Most fisherman try and sell to upmarket restaurants rather than fish and chip shops
By Penny Young for the BBC's World Business Report

Fishing towns on the east coast of England are struggling to come to terms with the collapse of their traditional sources of income.

Local councils have plans to revive the area, developing a port for a ferry to Europe.

The fishing companies believe the industry can survive - if there are relief payments and more is done to conserve stocks.

This could help compensate for a three-month ban on fishing imposed in a large area of the North Sea earlier this year.

Colne Shipping Group's company secretary Hugh Sims says there should be compensation.

"The fishing industry is changing. The fishing industry has got to change but there needs to be a fishing industry. But we need support," he added.

Ferry plans

Great Yarmouth council is embarking on a 20-year plan to set up a business park, boost tourism and build a $45m port for a roll on roll off ferry to the Dutch port of Ijmuiden.

"We've been a port for hundreds of years, had Hanseatic trade. We've traded with the Baltic and that continues now. There are certainly opportunities there and obviously it's my job to promote them. But yes, access to Northern Europe via Ijmuiden is an opportunity that is real," Peter Wright, economic development officer, said.

The council's hopes are that it will provide an alternative source of employment in an area which is now an unemployment black spot.

Wholesale fish merchant, Peter Waller, said: "That must have employed thousands. You had all the ship building, the ship maintenance, that's all gone. We've got no ship building left whatsoever.

"In my own case we used to employ 20 people. I was one of the smaller merchants. I'm now down to two employees and one of those I think will be leaving shortly."

Many fish merchants survive by supplying upmarket fish restaurants instead of traditional fish and chip shops.

These buy in cheaper foreign fish to replace cod, now a threatened species in the North Sea.

Penny Young for the BBC
"The fishing companies believe the industry can survive"
See also:

16 Nov 01 | Scotland
Call for halt to fish farm expansion
31 Aug 01 | Scotland
Fishing pay-off scheme opens
15 Dec 00 | Business
The decline of an industry
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