A FISH wholesaler is set to cast its net wider after landing a £115,000 grant to help it expand.
Hodgson’s, in Hartlepool, is looking forward to moving into new markets after it was awarded funding from Europe to extend its factory and increase the seafood it supplies.
The grant will help fund a £290,000 development that is set to create a number of new jobs and boost the local fishing fleet.
Peter Hodgson, general manager, said: “My family’s business has been part of Hartlepool’s fishing industry for almost 100 years and we are proud to offer fresh locally caught fish to our North-East customers.
“I’m looking forward to expanding our product range to meet their demand, which should also help the local fleet too, as we will be able to take more fish from them.
“We’ve not really had the capacity for shellfish before and the European Fisheries Fund has made this possible. Without this support the expansion would have been very difficult.”
The scheme, funded partly by Hodgson’s, includes extending its processing unit on Hartlepool quayside, increasing storage and office space and re-organising the factory layout to boost efficiency.
It will also help pay for new freezing and chilling facilities, shellfish processing equipment and facilities for holding live crabs and lobsters.
The project is set to create three new jobs in Hartlepool once work is completed in October.
Hodgson’s started business in Hartlepool in 1916 and employs more than 30 people in its processing factory, three fish shops and refrigerated delivery service.
The £115,000 grant was made available through the £38m European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) set up to help the English fishing industry.
Catherine Murphy, programme manager for the European Fisheries Fund in England said: “We recognised the importance of Hodgson’s to Hartlepool, its fishing industry and the local economy, and were pleased to learn that the funding will help to create additional jobs in an area which has a particularly high rate of unemployment.”
Funding is available to fishing vessels, processing companies and for developments such as harbour improvements.
See the Marine Management Organisation website www.marinemanagement.org.uk/fisheries/funding