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ventnorfishgeoffblakeBusinesses in Ventnor are uniting behind the town’s fishermen in an effort to stop a proposed energy project being constructed off the Isle of Wight’s south coast.

The Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre is planned to be built within sight of the famous St Catherine’s lighthouse and may decimate the town’s important fishing industry.

Neil Gibbs and Meg Mortimer, owners of The Spyglass Inn and The Met which are both located on Ventnor Esplanade, are organising a show of support planned for Wednesday 12th March outside Ventnor Haven Fishery at 12noon.

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Ventnor fisherman Geoff Blake said:

“The fishing community of Ventnor feels that it is fighting for its existence, as the energy project is set to take away vital shellfish grounds.“The site in St Catherine’s Deep is on the brown crab migratory route that runs from the Bullock Bank off Hastings to Start Point in Devon. It is a vital fishery for Ventnor and will have a direct impact on the town’s growing reputation for fresh seafood. For several months a year this is the only ground where significant amounts of brown crab can be found and the loss of it would take away the economic viability of Ventnor Haven Fishery.”

Neil Gibbs of The Spyglass Inn added:

“The Fishery at the Haven is a huge part of Ventnor’s economy. It provides what our residents and tourists want; local fish and shellfish available daily. The regeneration we are seeing in Ventnor owes a lot to our unique Fishery and we will do whatever we can to support it.”

Meg Mortimer continued:

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“We are not against tidal or renewable energy, but it should not be at the cost of local businesses and the local economy in general. There are many more suitable areas for this project which would have no impact on this conservation area and area of special scientific interest.”

The Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) is a managed test/demonstration facility for tidal energy devices and testing is due to start in June 2014 according to the company’s website. The offshore facility will be a 20MW demonstration site of approximately 5km2 located approximately 2.5km to the south of St. Catherine’s Point. Project construction is anticipated to start in 2015, with operations scheduled for 2016. 

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