'Fish and cook' boat trips and more seafood takeaways being considered as part of plans to boost fishing industry in Bridlington

A team of marine consultants has been appointed by East Riding Council to explore further opportunities for Bridlington to develop as Europe's lobster capital.

Led by James Wood and Magnus Johnson from Northern Shores, the consultancy will gauge interest in fishing tourism initiatives such as 'fish and cook' boat excursions with local captains and work to increase the amount of locally caught shellfish served in Bridlington s restaurants while improving seafood takeaway offerings.

The project is the latest stage of a five-year plan to boost visitor numbers to the historic fishing port.

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In 2019, Bridlington Harbour saw the landing of £10million worth of shellfish, equating to 311 tonnes of lobster, 2,669 tonnes of crab and 572 tonnes of whelks.

Bridlington Harbour fishermen Andrew Sanderson, Frank Powell and Shaun Wingham

Despite a reduction in the value of landings in the past year as a result of the current global pandemic, East Riding Council and the local shellfish industry are determined to sustain the success of the lobster fishery for the benefit of the area's economy.

A marine research centre funded by a Fisheries Local Action Group grant opened last year and its staff are already assessing the environmental factors that affect the growth of juvenile lobsters.

Local businesses, including cafes and restaurants, have also been invited to workshops and webinars about the growth of 'lobster tourism'.

Northern Shores consultants will liaise with these businesses and other community groups, including fishing crews, to explore ideas such as branding and promotion as well as the expansion of activities aimed at visitors.

James Wood said: "As a local team that has been involved in the local fishery in a variety of ways for many years, we are really excited to have this opportunity to help drive forward this initiative for the benefit of the whole of the coastal economy."

Coun Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism at East Riding Council, added: "Without doubt, we can see massive potential to help the industry and the hospitality businesses in the area.

"Promoting the largely hitherto 'unrecognised' importance of the local shellfish industry and, in particular, lobster, could see it drive Bridlington and our other fishing towns' economies at this very challenging time for the hospitality sector.

"The pandemic continues to have a deep impact on local businesses, so there is a real need to have an intervention which can invigorate the local economy. With this in mind, the council fully intends to back the plan over a five-year period."

Anyone in Bridlington who is interested in giving their views to Mr Wood and Mr Johnson should contact them at [email protected]