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Nick Eggar, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries (front) holding plans for the new fuel tanks and dispensers, on the site allocated for the facilities at the fisheries complex in Sutton Harbour, with fisheries assistants Lewis Mcarther (left) and Tony Shepherd

A £750,000 investment is going into upgrading fuel facilities at Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour, England’s second largest fish market complex, with new fuel tanks and dispensers being installed at Plymouth Fisheries to help speed up turnaround times for the region’s fishing fleet.

Sutton Harbour Group, which owns and operates Plymouth Fisheries, the in England, is making the investment in upgrading and replacing the fuel facilities at the site, part-funded by a £375,000 grant from the European Maritime and ​Fisheries Fund (EMFF) administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

Preparatory work has begun to replace the main fuel tank and install new fuel dispensaries, which will help speed up fuel, water and electricity delivery systems for fishing vessels using the complex. The six-month project aims to complete by November 2019 and modern new equipment will make it faster for fishermen to refuel vessels, as well as offering superior logging and tracking systems, and the facilities will be more environmentally friendly.

The improvements follow a series of investments by Sutton Harbour Group over the last five years in the fisheries complex, based on the eastern side of Sutton Harbour. In 2015, Plymouth Fisheries unveiled a new ice production facility following a £1.2 million investment in the chill chain, part-funded by a £300,000 grant from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), also administered by the MMO, enabling production of ice on site 24 hours a day so trawlers could load it directly into their vessels.

‘The new, upgraded fuel tanks and delivery systems will create an extra refuelling point for vessels, as well as new quayside power and water distribution points,’ said Nick Eggar, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries.

‘Together these will allow much quicker turnaround times between boats landing a catch and being able to get back out to sea, and less waiting time for skippers and crews. It’s great news for Plymouth Fisheries and for the fishing fleet landing their catch here.’

‘This work will markedly improve the efficiency of fuel and power delivery for the local fishing fleet and provide a necessary upgrade to the services available from the fishing complex,’ added Pete Bromley, harbourmaster of Sutton Harbour.

‘This large improvement will enable and facilitate the supplying of fuels to the fishing industry for many years to come. The investment constitutes the latest phase of an ongoing modernisation programme for Plymouth Fisheries, which has already seen a new ice plant created, new chillers installed, and a refurbished auction hall completed. It also demonstrates further the ongoing commitment of Plymouth Fisheries and Sutton Harbour Group to our local fishing industry, alongside a determination to ensure that Plymouth remains a major UK fishing port.’

Sutton Harbour Group has appointed Lorne Stewart as the primary contractor and teams have begun work on site with OTS Group Limited, the tank manufacturer, to carry out an initial ground work survey before the new tank can be installed.

All site works will be fully coordinated with managers at Plymouth Fisheries to minimise disruption for fishermen, fish merchants and visitors using the complex.