fishermen widen the net for tidal opportunities

Commercial fishermen in North Wales could tap into contracts worth over £6 million thanks to proposed tidal energy projects off the coast of Anglesey.

Momentum has been building within the tidal energy sector in North Wales with the creation of the West Anglesey tidal demonstration zone in 2014 and Swedish- based company Minesto setting up its UK headquarters here for its Holyhead ‘Deep Green’ project. It’s hoped this growth will continue, bringing many opportunities for the local economy.

Menter Mon, the third-party manager for the tidal demonstration zone, commissioned a study to explore the marine services needed for the development of tidal projects and the potential for Anglesey’s commercial fishing community to diversify and provide some of these services.

The study found great potential for growth in the tidal energy sector around Anglesey over the next 10 years – meaning great supply chain opportunities too.

There's also a major opportunity for fishing vessel operators to expand and provide a range of services throughout the construction and operation of tidal projects. Physical, environmental and metocean surveys, deployment of monitoring equipment, guard vessel duties and crew transfer services are all needed – and can all be provided by local fishing companies.

These contracts could be worth in the region of £3.5 million over the next 10 years, with up to £400k in the next three years during the development phase, a further £1.4 million during construction and then up to £300k-a-year during the 25-year lifetime of the project.

Dafydd Gruffydd, from Menter Mon, said: “One of our objectives is to ensure that the local supply chain is fully aware of developments and able to respond to the opportunity. The study identified work to the value of £3.5 million, which could be delivered by fishermen using their skills, marine experience and vessels. Activity associated with the Anglesey Skerries and Deep Green projects could potentially represent a further £3 million over the next 10 years.”

Menter Mon will now begin working with Welsh Government and the Gwynedd and Anglesey Fisheries Local Action Group, to identify additional support for the local fishing industry, helping to secure some of the opportunities outlined by the study for the local community.

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