Fishing row hit port income
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.