For each lot, the Moby Clock displays the species, quality and weight of fish, plus the boat that caught it. “When bidding on a lot starts, the price drops,” explains Julian Clemens, the Looe Fish Market auctioneer. “All the buyers at the auction have a radio “zapper”. When the price drop to a level that a buyer thinks is attractive, they press their zapper. If they are the only bidder, they’ll get that lot. But if someone else pushes their zapper before the three lights come on [you can see two lights lit in the picture above], the price will start going back up until all other buyers drop out.
“Compare that to Plymouth, which is a dropping clock so it just goes down. So someone can go ‘I need that’ and jump in and take it at a high price, or alternatively wait for it go right down and snap it up cheap. Our system is designed to get the best price for the boats, because this is people’s livelihood.”