St Ives has received a third fish crane for its harbour, thanks to funding from the St Ives Town Deal Accelerator. The new crane will enable local fishing boats to unload their catches more quickly and easily, supporting the town’s economy and heritage. The harbour already has two fish cranes (also known as “davits”) but they were not enough to meet the demand of the growing fleet. With 36 commercial fishing boats now registered in the town, crews could face a long wait to unload their catches at peak times. It also left the harbour with only one working crane when the second one needed maintenance or developed a fault. The installation of the crane was completed at the end of March 2023, and it became operational at the beginning of May once all the licences were in place.
The project was a community effort, with local suppliers and contractors involved in carrying out the ground works and installing the wiring, and Penryn based firm Spencer Carter providing the crane. “Fishing is very important in a town like St Ives”, said Nathan de Rozarieux, from St Ives Fisherman’s Association. ”As well as directly employing the people who catch, process and sell the fish, it also supports the tourism and retail economies, attracting visitors who love to come and watch fishing taking place and then spend time and money in the town. “When the Town Deal programme was first being discussed we asked our members for their views on potential projects which could benefit the fishing community. A third fish crane was top of their list and we were delighted when the St Ives Town Deal Board agreed to award £23,000 of Accelerator funding towards the costs of the project.” As well as providing a third crane, the St Ives fishing project also included improvements to the fish handling and storage facilities and other works.
Having been awarded Accelerator funding for the new crane, the fishing community worked hard to secure the additional funding needed to complete the £50,000 project. “The third crane is already making a huge difference” said Ben Lawlor, St Ives Harbour Master. “Local boats can spend up to 12 hours at sea during the main mackerel season. With many of the boats then returning at the same time, having only the two cranes meant tired crews having to wait long periods to unload their catches before being able to go home. “By increasing capacity, the additional crane has significantly reduced this waiting time. As St Ives is a tidal harbour, the location of the crane closer to the entrance of the harbour also means that boats no longer have to wait for the tide to come in to access the quayside to unload their fish”.
As part of the Town Deal programme, St Ives received an initial £500,000 through the UK Government’s Accelerator Fund to invest in capital projects that would help places ‘build back better’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding was awarded to the Town in addition to the £19.9 million secured in 2021 from the Government’s Town Deal initiative.
Gareth Jones, Vice Chair of the St Ives Town Deal Board, said: “The Government’s Town Deal Accelerator Fund supported the delivery of two significant projects for the community of St Ives. The first investment enabled the building of a state-of-the-art skatepark for our younger people. We are now delighted to see the local fishers’ community reaping the benefits from this investment which will help future proofing this industry which is at the core of St Ives heritage”.
For more information about St Ives Town Deal visit www.stivestowndeal.org.uk. A video about the project can also be viewed here.