Just five years ago the then-privately-run Appledore Fishdock, which opened in 2008, was in some distress, with underinvestment in machinery, confusing leases, and a lack of plans to support the local fishing industry. While the intervening years have not been plain sailing, Torridge Council’s reclaiming of the facilities in 2016 has seen many of these problems turned around with financial investment and a manager appointed to oversee operations. The recent addition of a Wet Fish Stall and separate Mussel Purification business underlines the Council’s ongoing commitment to supporting local fishing enterprises.
Tony Rutherford has been in the fishing industry since he was a small boy, is the fourth generation of his family in the fish trade, and owner of T and T Shellfish Ltd. Although his recent business has been focused on the wholesale fish trade, he says he always liked the idea of a retail counter, having owned and run fish shops in Bideford and Barnstaple in the 1970s and ’80s – winning many Seafish Quality awards along the way. He has now teamed up with Nathan Townsend to launch Devon and Cornwall Fish Ltd, selling fresh fish direct from a retail outlet at the Fishdock which they hope will continue to support local fishermen for years to come.
While the Fish Counter is busy serving local people and restaurants with fresh fish, the dock is also the new home to a Mussel and Oyster purification operation, yet another sign of continued growth and diversification at the facility.
Local entrepreneur Tony Rutherford said: “While we have customers all over the UK and Europe, everything stems from the fantastic fish we have available right on our doorstep here in Devon and Cornwall. Although we moved into wholesale some years ago it has always been my ambition to have a wet-fish counter again, and with Nathan’s enthusiasm this was the right time to launch one. It’s been a huge success already, with queues of people, but I would also like to thank Torridge Council for their ongoing support and licence agreement, which allowed us to launch the project direct from the Fishdock.”
Torridge District Councillor Bob Hicks – Lead Member for the Economy said: “Appledore has a great claim to fame as the oldest fishing port in England and it’s great to see new businesses setting up and thriving even during the current pandemic. The Council-run dock is currently supporting local fishermen from Bideford, Appledore, Ilfracombe, Clovelly and Padstow as well as other areas along the North Coast, and is clearly a cornerstone of this important industry.”
The wet fish counter is open Monday to Friday 8am – 3pm and Saturday 8am – 12.30pm and has both cash and credit card facilities.