A new bespoke ‘fishing hub’ at Peterhead harbour could dramatically increase the port’s capacity to land and sell fish.
News of an all new fish market on the site of the old Greenhill Market comes as Peterhead Port Authority (PPA) announces the two firms which will oversee a massive £40m redevelopment of the whole port.
PPA boss John Wallace said: “The new bespoke ‘Fishing Hub’ will provide for 50% more market space and a dedicated private sales landing area which cannot be accomodated at the present location.
“With the new ‘landings obligation’ an area to host which that previously may have been discarded will be sited adjacent to the new fish market.”
New protected deep water berths means crews can enjoy what Mr Wallace describes as a ‘one stop’ approach, allowing for sales, distribution, discards, ice, fuel, boxes, layover and ship repair.
Mr Wallace added: “Peterhead is synonymous with quality fish and we want to ensure that the services available at the port reward our fisherman and suppliers.”
At present the port - the UK’s largest - can only handle 5,500 boxes but the new facility would hold more than 9,000, whilst enhancing opportunities for the display and management of fish, helping fishermen to continue to secure top industry prices.
Record landings were recorded in Peterhead between 2005 and 2012 and only last year the port broke one million boxes of fish through the market, a figure PPA hopes to exceed again this year.
Details of the fishing hub were revealed when Mr Wallace and his colleagues at PPA announced that the wider redevelopment of Peterhead harbour will be jointly managed by civil engineering firm RPS and architects Arch Henderson.
Following an ‘extensive and highly competitive procurement process’ the two companies were awarded contracts to undertake work by the winter of 2016.
Plans include significantly deepening both the port’s North and South harbours and approaches, giving vessels unrestricted access to the harbour.
Last week Mr Wallace said: “Following an extensive and highly competitive procurement exercise, we are delighted to announce the appointments of RPS and Arch Henderson for the design and management of the £40m Master Plan development of a new fish market and inner harbour deepening scheme.
“Both firms are amongst the best in their fields and are well equipped to provide the high level of technical expertise required to address this exciting project’s needs.
“In addition, both Project Managers have an in-depth knowledge of Peterhead and the operations of a busy fishing port.
“We are pleased to welcome them aboard and congratulate them on securing this important contract.”
The next step for PPA is to secure funding for the project.
Mr Wallace and his team are hopeful as much as £10m of the cost could be covered by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which helps fund the fishing industry and coastal communities to help them adapt to changing conditions in the sector.