News from the Ports: 14th July

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



Interfish is the largest fishing boat company in Plymouth with 4 x 24 metre beam trawlers. These are all currently in from sea for an annual refit, leaving a large dent in the amount of fish now being landed on Plymouth market. Some of the inshore trawlers are also in for their refit such as the Nicola Anne, Kindred spirit, and Ocean spirit. The amount of fish being landed is low and with the pubs and restaurants being allowed to reopen after lockdown, demand is now high, with fish prices climbing steadily.

Prices on Monday 13th July in Plymouth were as follows: Monkfish £12.90 for larger fish down to £10.34 , black bream £7.40-£10.50, brill £10.50, cod £5.01, conger eel £1.80, John Dory £11.27 down to £5.79, lemon Sole £12.00 down to £8.00 and £2.50 for very small, turbot £18.50 and squid £14.79 per kilo.

STAR BUY: TURBOT. Pictured is Kieron Davies, crew of the Girl Debra E444, owned and skippered by Dave Driver working out of Brixham. The Girl Debra is one of the largest inshore trawlers in the Southwest, landing top quality prime fish daily on Brixham fish market. Turbot is one of the best fish to eat, mainly caught in the summer months, this is not a cheap fish, but its thick succulent white meat makes it very tasty and popular in UK restaurants. Click here for Tom Hunt’s delicious turbot and cep mushroom recipe.

North East Scotland


Summer fish out of Fraserburgh has arrived with loads of Haddock being caught on the Turbot bank. Boats are also starting to catch more Cod and with the hospitality businesses starting to reopen, the prices of white fish have started to increase. One or two outlets for Prawns are also reopening but prices are low, and freshness is paramount.

Some of the larger fishing vessels are fishing further out to the West at Rockall. Rockall is an uninhabitable granite islet, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, it is claimed by the UK as its territory and is approximately 160 miles West of Scotland. Scottish boats fish there for squid in the Summer and it is well worth the long journey to catch them as squid is making good money now.

Northern Ireland


With June, July and August being the best months for Prawns, local prawn trawlers turn over more Prawns during this period, these fishermen need a strong Summer to get through, which can sometimes be, extremely challenging Winters. This Summer has been somewhat challenging itself with the continuing effect of Covid19. Local domestic markets are slowly recovering with pubs and restaurants reopening. Prawn tails (Scampi) fishermen are now selling to merchants for as much as £4.80-£5.50 per kilo. There is demand from these buyers, asking the vessels to land every 3 days instead of weekly to limit large amounts of prawns coming ashore. Large whole prawns known as langoustines are harder for the fishermen to sell as these go further afield to places such as Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. Demand is low for this beautiful shellfish as tourism is struggling on the continent.

South East England

Julie Waites, Seafish

The common whelk is fished most of the year round, and fishing effort is found right across the South East area of the UK. They are caught in weighted plastic pots, and in the Sussex region these are often recycled 25L plastic containers. Those who catch whelk in the Sussex district require a Shellfish Permit Byelaw from the Sussex IFCA. Last year Shoreham Port landed 1,661t of whelks and MMO stats confirm that up until the end of April 633t had been landed. The highest catch rate is found in spring.

In other news, Hastings region report that mackerel is starting to make an appearance. And bass, plaice and Dover sole continue to be landed across the region.

Billingsgate Seafood Training School is re-opening up on the 1st August 2020. This is great news, and classes can now be booked here.

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