The contract for the final phase of a €33m, 216-metre quay extension at Castletownbere, Co Cork, has been signed by the Government.
Agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue oversaw the signing of the contract with Sorensen Civil Engineering yesterday, which will see the development project and associated works on Dinish Island completed.
The last major landing quay development in Castletownbere was completed in 2010.
Since then, overall landings into Castletownbere have increased by 81% in volume from 19,030 tonnes to 34,529 tonnes, and by 221% in value from €29.9m to €96m in 2020.
The development will see the workable space on the quay doubled and will add around 2.2 acres of highly usable reclaimed quay storage area, two new major breakwaters at the entrance to the harbour, and the dredging of the navigation channel as well as the area in front of the syncrolift, making the boatyard more accessible for larger vessels.
An inner basin is also being created, which will provide an ideal future development area for a small-craft harbour to the benefit of small fishing vessels and leisure craft.
Mr McConalogue said he was "delighted" to oversee the signing.
“This a very significant investment by my department in current and future generations in the South-West, and will be a big boost to the Beara Peninsula and West Cork in general," said Mr McConalogue.
The department said that it hopes the final phase of the development will "enable Castletownbere to continue and develop its role as the premier whitefish port in the country, as well as facilitating scope for possible future expansions into other commercial activities compatible with the marine sector".
The pier extension will allow faster turnaround times for fishing vessels, alleviating existing vessel and traffic congestion.
Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed, and maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The works are expected to be substantially finished by next March.