FOR the first time in many years, Grimsby Fish Market is expected to open for normal business in the week between Christmas and New Year.
Traditionally, the market has shut down for the entire festive period, which lasts almost a fortnight, but this time an Icelandic container ship carrying more than 2,000 boxes of cod, haddock and other varieties is scheduled to dock at the port Immingham, near Grimsby over the Christmas weekend.
To accommodate the arrival, the market will open on Wednesday December 27 and almost certainly again on Thursday, December 28. It is likely to handle more than 2,500 boxes of fish over the two days. After that normal business is scheduled to return on Wednesday, January 3.
Martyn Boyers, chief executive Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises, said this development again showed the strength and versatility of the Grimsby market. "I have not yet checked on what is happening around the rest of the country and we still have to get firm confirmation on how much fish the ship is carrying, but we must be one of the few fish markets anywhere that will be open for full business over that period.," he added. "Admittedly, there will be some disruption to our Christmas holiday because we shall have to start preparing on Boxing Day night but the demands of the industry are starting to change and we must be ready to accommodate them. Provided there are no delays due to bad weather or other problems we shall be open the following morning and again the next day."
He said demand for fish was likely to be keen because a number of Humber fish processing factories would be working over the festive period to meet demand from supermarkets and other retailers. The fried trade also has one of its busiest periods as almost the entire nation turned to fish and chips as a welcome relief from two weeks of feasting on rich festive fare.
"The problem in the past is that either the home fleet has been tied up in port for the holiday or rough weather has affected supplies," said Mr Boyers. "But this time we should have a reasonable supply of fish to offer the trade."
In years gone by Hull City and Grimsby Town football clubs were the only two professional teams, which had official permission to play league football on Christmas Day because of the demands of the fish trade, but that tradition disappeared after the loss of their respective trawler fleets.
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