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Mayflower Pontoons provide new base for charter and recreational anglers in Plymouth

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Coastal, Grant funding

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners (CHC) has officially opened of the Mayflower Pontoons, an extension to the Barbican Landing Stage (BLS) facilities in Plymouth. Supported by a £150,000 grant awarded through MMO's Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, this project improves the port infrastructure at the Barbican Landing Stage (BLS) in Plymouth. The installation of two additional pontoons provides new drop-off and pick-up points for a variety of recreational fishing vessels, including wildlife safaris, dual coded vessels and angling vessels.

The current infrastructure is well used by local ferries and larger vessels to collect and disembark up to 200 passengers. Our funding allows for additional berth space at BLS for local businesses to offer trips from the heart of Plymouth. In periods of bad weather, it will also act as a safe haven for commercial fishers who, while they can’t land catches on the BLS, can use it for safe mooring.

Benefits we expect to see from this investment:

  • Improve shoreside infrastructure for all ports users at BLS
  • Maintain employment for 56 FTE, including core employees, and those businesses that are reliant on the BLS
  • Creation of new opportunities for existing and new businesses to consider dual-coding and diversification
  • Modest fuel savings for vessels as the facilities are adjacent to where the vessels moor.

The ribbon-cutting event, held on 20 February 2024, was well attended with MMO represented by Plymouth-based Marine Environment Officer, Sara Wordley.

Group stood on pontoon gangway cutting a ribbon to open the Mayflower Pontoon in Plymouth
Ribbon-cutting event to open the Mayflower Pontoon in Plymouth funded by MMO's FaSS grant scheme

Paul Errington, MMO’s Acting Director of Finance and Resources said:

We’re delighted to support Cattewater Harbour Commissioners in their vision to further develop the BLS. FaSS is well known for its support of commercial fishing, and this project is a good example of how the scheme can also support recreational fishers. These new pontoons will create opportunities for the businesses that rely on the BLS, those they employ and the many visitors they welcome each year. The safe haven this facility provides in bad weather is an added benefit for the entire local fishing community.

“We wish CHC every success with this endeavour, especially as they prepare to celebrate their 150th anniversary, and we look forward to seeing the realised impacts of this development.”

The Mayflower Pontoons, three new pontoons connected to the BLS provides over 60 meters of additional mooring space. Equipped with shore power and mains water they will provide a dedicated area for pick up and drop off for charter vessels, and other small vessel passengers with prior arrangement via CHC. 

CEO and Harbour Master, Capt. Richard Allan said:  

It is fantastic to see this aspiration of facilities for licensed charter vessels and recreational anglers at the BLS delivered for them. We are grateful to Marine Management Organisation for support with our bid to the Fisheries and Seafood Support fund (FaSS), without these funds, this project and expansion could not have gone ahead at this time”. 

Several charter vessels took part in a pilot in 2023 using the existing BLS during with strict vessel traffic management in place to coordinate with existing stakeholders to include local ferries and boat tours. This new facility builds on the success of the pilot, anyone wishing to operate out of the new facility for the 2024 season can contact the Harbour at

Local charter skipper, Dave Uren said:

We are delighted that these new pontoons will provide a permanent facility for us to use for our charter passengers making fishing trips available from the heart of the historic Barbican for tourists and locals alike. We are also involved in science data and gathering, and it is fantastic that we can now load equipment and board our scientists from this facility too. Sustainability is at the core of our operations, and it is great to be part of the work in this field to help better inform fisheries science”. 

Cllr Tudor Evans OBE, Leader Plymouth City Council said: 

Britain’s Oceans City is not just a brand but a way of life for many and our waterscape is at the core of our city’s identity. This new facility will help create memories of family holidays to the coast, the whopper that was caught, and the one that got away, from all day angling trips to a couple hours chasing mackerel, it is a fantastic addition to our tourist draw. It is great to see our local charter boats getting involved with the scientific community and using their vessels and trips to collect vital fisheries data that helps underpin sustainable practices and feeds in to the national collection of data to improve our understanding of stock health".  


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