Paul Vincent is Harbour Master at Bude Harbour, Cornwall. He is also Relief Harbour Master in Newquay and a qualified MOT tester at a local garage, but that's another story. Bude Harbour is a unique place. Surrounding the Harbour Master's office is a stretch of the Bude canal, Grade II listed sea lock gates, quaint houses, and a long stretch of beach which, at the time of visiting, was packed with happy holiday makers. The harbour itself is tidal with around 29 moorings and local boats making use of the facilities, around six of these are commercial day fishing boats. We visited at low tide with all boats sat in the sand, waiting for the water to reappear. Two local fishermen were making the most of this time and preparing their nets on the shore next to Paul's office.
With tides and weather often against them, the day boat fishermen need to make the most of every opportunity. When the time to strike arises, and a good haul is netted, Bude's day fishermen often had to cut their trips short in order to bring their catch to market before it spoiled. Paul had noted this lost opportunity and began to look for a solution. Bude isn't large enough to justify a full fish plant room like other Cornish harbours so Paul decided that a small ice machine combined with a number of Icey-Tek cool boxes was the way forward. With some financial help from the EMFF (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) Paul set to work.
The new setup has been in place for around a month and is already proving popular. Fishermen are able to sign-out a number of the specially branded 70L Icey-Tek cool boxes, fill them with fresh ice, and make full use of them whilst on the water and on their way to market. It is now possible to store two days worth of fresh fish before heading to Plymouth fish market, a much more efficient way of working. Of course we had to ask Paul why he chose Icey-Tek over any other brand of cool box, his answer was “Reputation and recommendation. A number of fishermen I know use them and they swear by them.”.
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