Fish­ing row hit port in­come

The Galloway News - - NEWS - Stu­art Gille­spie

Kirkcud­bright har­bour posted a loss of more than £50,000 last year.

And coun­cil of­fi­cials claim con­tro­ver­sial fish­ing re­stric­tions in Manx wa­ters are partly to blame for the deficit.

Mem­bers of the har­bours sub com­mit­tee will hear to­day that the re­gion’s five har­bours op­er­ated at a loss of more than £186,000 last year – up by more than £80,000 on 2016/17.

The re­port, by re­gional har­bour mas­ter Will Jones and in­fra­struc­ture boss James McLeod, says the loss can partly put down to in­come at Kirkcud­bright be­ing “im­pacted sig­nif­i­cantly” by changes made to shell­fish wa­ter ac­cess by the Isle of Man Gov­ern­ment dur­ing the win­ter.

Ma n x au t h o r i t i e s in­tro­duced a new mea­sure forc­ing ves­sels to re­port daily to one of the is­land’s ports for catch in­spec­tions. They later de­cided that ves­sels could fish as be­fore as long as they stuck to strict catch lim­its.

De­spite land­ing fees be­ing in­creased from one per cent to two per cent, they only gen­er­ated around £83,000 at Kirkcud­bright har­bour in 2017/18 com­pared to around £96,000 the pre­vi­ous 12 months.

Although the har­bour ran at a £54,000 loss, that was bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous year when it lost £67,000.

The re­port sug­gests there should be a three per cent in­crease in all fees this year, the ex­cep­tion be­ing fish and shell­fish which should re­main at two per cent of gross value.

The re­port echoes a warn­ing made ear­lier in the year that while there is a need to in­crease rev­enue and cut costs, it is “crit­i­cal” that other fac­tors are con­sid­ered as the ser­vice “al­lows other jobs to be main­tained”.

It adds: “A di­rect ex­am­ple would be the shell­fish pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity at Ki rkcud­bright which pro­vides in the or­der of 170 jobs. An in­di­rect ben­e­fit, harder to quan­tify, is the ben­e­fit in terms of tourism that hav­ing an ac­tive har­bour at Kirkcud­bright, or in fact any of the five coun­cil har­bours brings.”

It ac­knowl­edges there is a chal­lenge in bal­anc­ing gen­er­at­ing money but not to the ex­tent that po­ten­tial cus­tomers are priced out of us­ing the har­bours.

Coun­cil­lors will be asked to back a rec­om­men­da­tion to in­crease in the an­nual fee for us­ing the pon­toon at Kirkcud­bright as well as in vis­i­tor rates.

Mem­bers will be told that re­dec­o­rat­ing the town’s ma­rina is due to be fin­ished by the end of March and that work to up­grade the CCTV has been com­pleted.

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