Cornwall Council has announced a new fishing facility project in St Ives to help combat the collapse of traditional demand due to covid-19.  

Fishing boats beside Smeatons Pier, where the new facioity will be created. Photograph: John Chard

To safeguard St Ives’ strong fishing heritage, the project has secured £50,000 funding out of the £500,000 advanced funding allocated to the town as part of the government’s Accelerated Towns Fund.  

The funding will enable the building of a new fishing facility on St Ives Quay to sell the catch of the day directly to the town’s residents and visitors.

The project will help to support an average of 22 fishers and enable them to store their bait overnight, thanks to the upgrade of a refrigerated storage area and the building of a small shop to sell the catch on days the market is not open.

It is estimated that in the first year the project will bring an uplift of £10,000 in direct sales, with an added £10,000 per annum through online sales. In addition, the direct sale counter will remove the need to drive the landed catch to Newlyn twice a day, reducing the firms’ transport cost to Newlyn by 50% and saving an estimated £8,000 per annum.  

By driving small business development and private sector investment, the project will also support St Ives’ local fishing co-operative and bring the town’s facilities in line with other similar size ports. 

St Ives landed fish
Photograph: John Chard

Sarah Stevens, chair of the St Ives Town Deal Board, said: “My family has a strong fishing heritage in the town and I am proud to have supported the fishermen with their plans to sell fish directly from the quay and to improve the facilities. It will make their lives easier and have a positive impact on the environment.  

“Whilst the fishing industry faces many challenges in the current landscape, there are opportunities within smaller fishing communities to provide the freshest and most sustainably caught seafood. This funding enables the St Ives fishing community to continue to grow and develop, building on the growth we have already seen in the harbour over the last ten years.” 

Alongside Camborne, Penzance, and Truro, St Ives was one of 100 towns selected across England to receive accelerated funding from the government’s Town Fund.  

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for culture, economy, and planning, said: “We’ve been successful in securing £2.5m from the Town Fund Accelerator programme for new capital projects that will help our communities respond to the immediate challenges facing towns during the covid-19 pandemic. This initiative in St Ives supports the fishing community, who have shown great resilience and forward thinking to safeguard their industry and make this project happen.” 

The £3.6bn Towns Fund is central to the government’s ambition to level up the country — creating jobs and building stronger and more resilient local economies and communities. Through the Towns Fund the government is bringing forward funding to this financial year to support projects that will make an immediate impact in towns and raise living standards. 

St Ives’ Smeatons Pier fish landing and selling facility project will be managed by the Harbourmaster and completed by 31st March.