Harbour’s repair bid

A NEW funding bid has been submitted by Warkworth Harbour Commissioners in an attempt to repair Amble’s flood-damaged harbour.

Previous attempts for money have been turned down by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) as they did not meet the criteria.

But now a fresh bid has been submitted to the MMO for a slice of cash from its European Fisheries Fund (EFF) to help repair the harbour, which was damaged by flooding in 2008.

An announcement is expected in mid-November and if the application is successful, work could start by the end of the year.

Harbour master Paul Allen said: “A new bid has been put in to the Marine Management Organisation for its European Fisheries Fund money to help with the rebuilding of the damaged quay.

“The harbour commissioners have also managed, over the last three years since the flood took place, to save some money towards that, but we need a grant to go ahead. If they grant the money, that will be 50 per cent of the cost. We will still have to phase the work – the first phase will be stabilising the quay and then phase two and three will be to build a new quay surface and face.

“If we are successful, we hope to start work later in 2011 and have the three phases completed by 2013.

“The harbour commissioners are very keen to get a repair undertaken. It is our highest priority.

“We appreciate that the public has been waiting a long time, as have the fishermen, and we are trying to get the necessary funds.”

But a fish producer further up the Northumberland coast has already had good news with the announcement of a £32,000 EFF grant this month.

Lindisfarne Oysters received £32,000, which will be used towards an £80,000 expansion of the processing unit on its farm. This, in turn, will help to improve oyster washing and grading processes and increase production by more than 100,000 oysters per year.

Christopher Sutherland, of Lindisfarne Oysters, said: “When I first took over the farm from my father in 2003 the numbers of oysters we produced were very low, but we’ve continued to build our knowledge and skills and hope to eventually produce up to 250,000 a year by 2013.

“This is the second grant we’ve received through European funding schemes, the first was in 2007 for a specialist oyster boat, which made the process of farming the oysters significantly easier.

“The latest grant will help us significantly with our expansion plans as it will help us to put the necessary infrastructure in place.”

The company also has a retail partnership with Swallow Fish Ltd, of Seahouses, which, along with L Robson and Sons, of Craster, previously received £7,000 funding through the EFF towards herring splitting machines for the production of kippers.

Owner of Swallow Fish Ltd and former fisherman Patrick Wilkin said: “The grant we received is helping us to adopt the most modern production technology within our historic smokehouses.

These have been in existence since 1843 and have even been credited as being one of the possible places the kipper was invented.

“The money awarded to help local harbours is also of benefit to us, the environment and our customers too.

“We are proud to source and offer fresh local fish, which has been transported minimal distance for processing.”

The EFF has previously granted £57,000 towards improvements to Amble harbour, as well as the one in Seahouses.

In 2010, Warkworth Harbour Commissioners were granted more than £9,000 towards a £19,400 fuel tank for Amble harbour.

At Seahouses, nearly £10,000 was granted last year towards works in the harbour to reduce swell, while in 2009, over £37,000 was awarded towards container storage, five new fishermen’s gear stores, and developing the skills of harbour staff.