There is a hidden industry in Eastbourne that visitors flocking to the pier and seafront, rarely hear or see and that’s our fantastic fishing fleet.
However, this could now be set to change in the incoming years with planning permission hot off the press to develop the Fisherman’s Quay at Sovereign Harbour.
This is something I have long supported and campaigned for (pictured), bringing government ministers down to see the plans, so I’m personally delighted the council has given the green light.
Plans for traditional black net huts, workshops, offices, a fresh fish market and a fishing ‘learning centre’, perhaps even an aquarium, are one step closer to fruition at the site in a move that would transform the area, bring in jobs and investment and appeal to visitors and local people alike.
I am delighted to be able to tell everyone the shellfish landed in Eastbourne are among the best in the country and for our local fishermen and women, this development would really put them on the map and, importantly, provide the setting to showcase and sell their produce.
This progress on the quayside development comes at a time when we are looking to a post-Brexit world free of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
This policy is held by many to have dramatically disadvantaged the UK’s fishing industry, especially the under 10 metre boats typical of Eastbourne and Hastings fleets.
Having a fishing heart and soul, full of character, right here in Eastbourne is really an exciting prospect and I commend Michael Newton Smith and Graham Dodswell the lead fishermen on this project, for their tireless work, their commitment and their vision.
The recent launch of the Government’s Blue New Deal will also complement the development in Eastbourne because the plan aims to deliver more and better jobs in the fishing and marine conservation industries, while increasing economic sustainability through healthier seas.
Graham and I were speakers at this launch event, a brilliant opportunity to put Eastbourne on the map.
So the timing of this quayside development could not be better for this hidden gem of Eastbourne to now grow and flourish, and I wish it the best of luck and tight lines in the years to come.