You Could Help: Port Isaac 'Doc Martins village' at flooding risk from crumbling harbour wall
A village made famous by the TV series Doc Martin will be at risk of regular flooding if the harbour is not repaired, fishermen are warning.
The Port Isaac Harbour Commission said damage to one of the breakwaters will cost “eye-watering” amounts to repair.
The fishing fleet in the Cornish village has depleted in recent years, with just two boats remaining to pay for harbour maintenance.
One of the fishermen said: “We can’t afford to pay for the upkeep.”
Calum Greenhalgh added: “The harbour will fall into disrepair and then the bottom of the village will flood.”
Mr Greenhalgh said the decline in crab catches had been “very dramatic over the last six years”.
He said: “A fall from 41,837 tonnes in 2014 to 5,380 in 2020, and 2021 was even worse.”
Port Isaac factbox:
- Population of 791
- Its name comes from the Cornish “Porth Izzick” which means “corn port”
- It is the home village of sea shanty group Fisherman’s Friends who were discovered while singing on the harbourside, leading to a record deal, a top 10 album, two films and a musical
- It sits in the parish of St Endellion, which is one of the middle names of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s daughter Florence, who was born while the family was on holiday in Cornwall in 2010
- The parish has one of the highest rates of second home ownership in Cornwall
- Properties in Port Isaac had an average price of £574,453 over the last year, according to Rightmove
- The tenth and final series of Doc Martin, set in Port Isaac, will be filmed in 2022
The harbour commissioners have set up a fundraising page, with a target of £40,000.
The page says: “There is currently a large chunk of concrete that has come off the outside of the eastern breakwater.
“The harbour commission is getting a survey done with the view to it being repaired; the estimated cost is eye-watering.”
It goes on: “If there are no commercial boats left in the harbour there will be no-one around to look after the infrastructure and it will be only a matter of time until the breakwaters fall in to disrepair and with sea levels rising, the bottom of the village will be regularly flooded and become unsustainable and uninsurable.”
The breakwaters help protect the village from stormy seas but are already suffering with damage that is costly to repair
The harbour commission is also hoping to set up an apprenticeship scheme for young fishermen.
Former fisherman Jeremy Brown said: “We need to get back to people coming into the industry now.
“There is still a good living to be made there if you could encourage people into it.”
North Cornwall MP Scott Mann has offered to help with a bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund to help with the repairs.
In December, a £10m scheme was announced by the government to encourage new entrants into the fishing sector, and train and upskill those already working in it.