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Fishing port, fishing and fish market

In the past, Nieuwpoort was almost exclusively a fishing port and was during certain periods one of the most important ones of the coast. The importance of the fish supply in the 12th century is shown in the charter of 1163, in which the tax rate to be raised on herring, mackerel, salmon, codfish, haddock, plaice, flounder, skate and eel is mentioned. Since Nieuwpoort was besieged repeatedly, the port knew a lot of ups and downs and consequently its function was changed quite often. Once Nieuwpoort used to be the sub-port of Ypres and Bruges. At the end of the 16th century Nieuwpoort was together with Dunkirk a famous or even notorious Spanish pirate nest, from where the Dutch ships were attacked. All the more reason why Prince Maurits of Nassau had to undertake a punitive expedition against the two ports. An expedition settled in a battle known to our northern neighbours as the Battle of Nieuwpoort on 1st and 2nd July 1600.
In the Second World War, Nieuwpoort was the fishing port supplying great amounts of herring, after all the fishing people of Nieuwpoort had to pay the depth for fishing. In the sixties the fleet reduced and the port got a new main destiny, i.e. as marina. 

The fishing port is situated at and historically fused with the northwestern part of the town. Along the landing quay of approx. one kilometre, there are colourful fishing boats. Specialist will recognize three sorts of boats, each fulfilling particular fishing tasks i.e. prawn cutters, coast trawlers or small, medium-sized or large trawlers.

The municipal covered fish market was built in two stages. The original building from 1952 was expanded in 1972 to the present size.
The fish supplied at the fish auction is caught in the North Sea in the coastal and western areas. Ships fishing in the coastal area are 48 hours at the most at sea and those going west approx. 5 days.
On the ships, the fish is kept under the best conditions and gets of course the highest quality label at the auction.
Except in case of bad weather, the coastal fishing is active from Monday to Saturday. Daily fish can be offered at the auction at 7.00 or 8.00 in the morning. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the best days to breathe in the atmosphere.

The term "Vismijn" (buying fish at a public auction) was formerly used quite often, in view of the fact that the candidate buyer showed that he wanted to buy a lot of fish by calling "mine" (me). Nowadays the fish is not sold any longer by means of calling down and calling. At present the fish is sold by means of an electronic clock fed by a computer system. The buyer is not obliged anymore to come to the auction; he can buy calmly at home via a PC and a special phone line.

Guided visits are organised regularly (ask for the event calendar at the tourism office).
Different halls in the same building are used as exhibition room or party room.

 

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