Each week Clive Palfrey, Regional Safety Adviser for Seafood Cornwall Training, provides an update on the comings and goings from the UK’s fishing ports and markets. Pulled together from skippers and merchants across the country this piece provides an insight into the UK’s fishing fleets and the amazing range of seafood they land every day.
South West England
With a neap tide pending and the lovely fine weather, Newlyn Harbour was all but empty on Wednesday morning. The larger netters sailed over the weekend and are yet to return with their catch and the first beam trawler is not due to be back in until first thing Thursday morning. Looking at the inshore side of things, the single-handed fishermen haven’t had much luck catching mackerel lately so they have swapped over to handline caught Pollock. This method is used by the smaller boats (under 10 metre) towing 2- or 3-lines behind their boat with what is known as a “diveboard” on their line. The diveboard makes the lure dive deep into the water to where the pollock are, they then take the bait and the fisherman pulls in his line. This is a very environmentally friendly and sustainable method of fishing.
STAR BUY: Handline caught pollock. To rustle up pollock with a crusty topping in under ten minutes follow this recipe!
Pictured is a line full ofcaught pollock being reeled in by Edd Russell, skipper and owner of the vessel “Halcyon” FY894. Edd has over 20 years’ experience at sea and 12 years ago he built and designed his boat to purposely target handline caught species such as pollock, mackerel and bass.
Inshore scallop dredgers are still tied up alongside the quay, with no market still, these vessels have not sailed for 12 weeks. The larger prawn trawlers went back to sea a few weeks ago with limited markets to sell to. They have already exhausted these markets as so many prawns were being caught that prices dropped exceptionally. There is now talk of the skippers tying their boats back up because of this. Hopefully, the increase in direct selling throughout Northern Ireland will help provide markets for these boats.
I had an interesting conversation with Mark Gray, Director of Menai Seafood Company. He informed me about how much buying fish has changed during the outbreak of the coronavirus. His company has always tried to buy locally but sometimes found it hard to get a “white fish” supply and often had to buy fish caught in the North Sea. Now that those markets have been forced to close because of the virus, Mark is now back buying locally caught pollock from inshore fishermen to replace species such as haddock.
The local fishermen themselves are catching pollock and bass and selling to the local merchants for a far better price as there has been an increase in demand. 3 reasons being:
1. People are more aware of local produce.
2. Supermarkets closed their fresh fish counters
3. Easy buying access, order by text delivered on Friday, this method of buying seem to be getting more and more popular due to the simpler method of buying the fish and having it delivered directly to your door.
South East England
Julie Waites, Seafish
The bad weather last week and over the weekend hindered fishing efforts; therefore the start of this week has been difficult with supplies, but the boats are starting get back out again.
Mid-June sees the lobster season in full swing and the famous Brighton Plaice are plumping up and reaching our shores. Cuttlefish volumes have increased dramatically, fishermen are reporting the most in 10 years. These would normally be exported to Spain for a premium price.
Congratulations to all the Master Fishmonger Standard award winners this year. Especially to Pete and Chantelle in Emsworth with their business Fresh from the Boat, who won the MFS mobile fish shop award for 2020.