Visiting the County Down port as part of its 200th anniversary celebrations, Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill officially opened the new fish market and ice-plant facility in Ardglass.
The new fish-market has been designed to cater for the current and projected needs of the Ardglass fishing fleet which, in terms of vessel numbers, has expanded significantly in recent years. The Minister also took the opportunity to view the recent £110,000 investment in the port’s ice-making facilities which provides port users with an efficient ice supply.
Speaking at the event, the Minister said: “The new projects at Ardglass harbour, to which my Department has been able to contribute through the European Fisheries Fund, will improve the quality of the infrastructure required for our fishing industry to continue to operate as well as provide consumers with high quality seafood.
“This continuing DARD support for the Fishery Harbour Authority, in developing and improving fishing port facilities, serves as recognition of the confidence that government has in the future of our fishing industry.
“The restrictions and range of other pressures faced by the industry over the past years means it has had to restructure to ensure a long-term sustainable fishery will evolve, and one which will provide career and wealth opportunities for our rural fishing communities, especially along the County Down coast.”
The Minister went on to thank the Harbour Authority for the invitation to visit Ardglass in what was a very significant year in the harbour’s history.
As part of the visit, the Minister also took the opportunity to meet a number of successful graduates from the newly launched ‘Introduction to Commercial Fishing Scheme’, geared towards young people who wish to take up a career in the local fishing industry.
The Minister said: “This is the second such scheme to be run in the north of Ireland and through it 17 potential new entrants to the local fishing industry have been identified and trained in the key requirements for the job. I hope all of these graduates will enjoy a long, lucrative and successful career.”