WORK has started on a £290,000 expansion project for one of Hartlepool’s oldest family businesses.
Hodgson Fish Ltd’s processing unit, on Hartlepool Fish Quay, is set to almost double in size in a move that will safeguard existing jobs and create three new positions.
The development means the business will be able to store more fresh shellfish, boosting local fishermen and expanding its supply base.
The business, which dates back to 1870 in Hartlepool, has been awarded a £115,500 European Union grant towards the scheme.
Chairman Alan Hodgson said: “The local fishermen obviously need a market for their produce so for us to be able to do that we need to store at least a tonne of live shellfish.
“So we are increasing our working space and are aiming to supply more and more top restaurants.
“We’re hoping to be able to take more fish from the local boats and give them a better price.
“With all the doom and gloom there is we are confident that if you provide a good product there will always be a call for us.
“We are hoping it will help to keep the port in existence.”
The extra space will be used for a shellfish holding system, coming from Canada.
It means the business will be able to store up to 2,000lbs of shellfish – such as lobster – compared to just 100lbs currently.
It will also mean more space and better working conditions for staff.
The 26-week development started earlier this month and will also include extra office space.
Hodgson’s supplies customers all over the north of England with its fleet of vans, including Michelin star restaurants.
Clients include top chefs Nigel Martin, Andrew Pern and Kenny Atkinson.
The business has two shops, one in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, which opened in 1916, and another in Yarm.