Co Down fisherman reels in bank support for new vessel
A £500,000 bank loan taken by a Portavogie fisherman is set to see him boost business by one-third and support the development of the industry in one of Northern Ireland's key fishing ports.
William Coffey has purchased a new 70ft vessel -The Opportune - and hopes it will make his family business more productive.
The Opportune, which he has bought with funding from Ulster Bank, is three times the size of his original family trawler, Girl Eileen, which was also bought with the bank's support in 1979.
It will enable him and his crew to fish in deeper waters, remain at sea for longer and endure more difficult sailing conditions.
Mr Coffey said the investment was "critical for the future success of my business, enabling it to be more competitive".
"We can now fish in waters and weather that we couldn't previously, and we will be spending a lot less on fuel," he added.
He said he expects to be able to increase the amount of fish brought in every year by a third.