Calls are being made to help ensure the future of one of the borough’s longest running industries.
Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell has called on the government to support plans to regenerate the Fish Quay in North Shields to ensure the fishing port’s future.
Speaking in the House of Commons annual Fisheries Debate before Christmas, Mr Campbell said North Shields is now one of the most important fishing ports on the east coast.
However, he added that remedial work on the quay is needed if the port is to be sustainable in the future.
He was keen to raise the concerns of local fisherman to help get their message across.
Mr Campbell told the Fisheries Minister that the renewal of the West Quay required co-operation between a number of partners including the Fish Quay Company, the local authority and the Port of Tyne but it had also needed input from European funding.
He said: “North Shields is now the most important fishing port on the east coast.
“We need to secure its future by completing the regeneration including the working bits of the port, as well as doing all we can to support individual boat owners and businesses.
“There’s a clear need to renew parts of the quay next to the Fish Market, where the boats land their catch.
“Funding is understandably tight and I want assurances that the Government and government agencies are prepared to play their part.
“I am concerned about the European Commission decision to freeze funding on existing schemes while ‘governance’ issues have been clarified with the Local Enterprise Partnership.
“We need, and fishermen need, some certainty about the ports future.”
Mr Campbell also raised concerns about the implications of the Discard Ban due to start in less than a month’s time.
Fish previously discarded at sea will now have to be landed, and disposed of, creating problems for some ports at a time when fishermen should be supported.
Mr Campbell said: “The Government should perhaps look at phasing the implementation of the ban.
“Many people signed up to it but actually implementing it will be problematic.
“The Government really has to support fishermen in what is already a tough job.”