AN HISTORIC fishmongers in Weymouth is preparing for the grand unveiling of its renovated premises this weekend, and promises to keep supporting the local fishing community during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a renovation of its ground floor premises an Weymouth’s historic harbourside, Weyfish will reopen its main shopfront on Saturday. This is the first stage of renovations to the Old Fish Market, with the first floor due to be transformed into a restaurant.

With many businesses on lockdown and limitations on individuals leaving their homes, Weyfish says it will ensure the local fishing fleet can continue to work and residents can get fresh, locally-sourced seafood.

Sean Cooper, owner of Weyfish, said: “After a tough start to the year with numerous storms, and now the closure of restaurants and fresh fish counters in supermarkets, the demand in the market for fresh fish has dropped, causing a huge shock to the fishing industry.

“The re-opening of Weyfish is vital in providing support for our community, from putting fresh food on plates for our customers to ensuring that income continues to flow for the local fishing community.

“It’s absolutely imperative that this business stays open. There are local fishing boats that go out every day out of that harbour. They rely on us being able to land their fish and sell them.

“Our customers need to know they can come to us and we will have fresh fish, the big supermarkets have closed their fresh meat and fish counters so we are the only place they can get it from.

“We are doing all the responsible things as regards social distancing like only one person in the shop at a time and we are only accepting contactless card payments.”

Mr Cooper said the coronavirus epidemic was affecting trade at the shop: “We are not getting any of the tourist trade we would normally get when the sun is shining but our local customers are buying more than they usually would. Instead of one cod they might get two or they might get an extra pot of crab meat. It’s all fine and it’s more than manageable, we have plenty of stock for even if we were twice as busy.”

“These are unprecedented and challenging times for us all and the local fishing fleet has been central to Weymouth’s harbourside for generations. Weyfish will be open all week at the Old Fish Market. Please show your support for our local businesses wherever you can.”

Weyfish is also working hard to obtain permission from Dorset Council to secure an open public space in Dorchester for its refrigerated retail van, allowing them to supply the people of Dorchester with daily fresh fish.