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
The cuttlefish season is in full swing and the trawlers are seeing some great catches, with 20 trawlers landing their catch daily onto Brixham market. COVID-19 has reared its ugly head yet again and has massively affected the price of this inky fish selling to Europe, which is where the cuttles are usually sold to. This year’s price has been on average £2.50 per kilo which is down £2.00 per kilo on previous years. Beam trawlers are steadily fishing, generally in the middle of the English channel fishing for prime species such as Dover sole, monkfish, and plaice. Their cuttlefish season is just beginning as the cuttles move here as we head into Winter.
Scallop fishing is still the most affected by the Coronavirus as the majority of scallops caught in the UK are exported to places such as Italy and Spain who unfortunately were heavily affected by the virus. Sales were hit hard and have yet to recover meaning demand is particularly low, which may mean a long hard winter for some fishermen.
STAR BUY: TURBOT. Turbot are usually caught during the Summer months so try not to miss out on this succulent prime white meat during this season Pictured is Skipper Louis Portman of the fishing vessel Saxon Spirit showing a turbot caught in the English channel today. Louis took to sea on Saturday night and will be landing on Tuesday night after working 40 miles from his home port of Plymouth.
North East Scotland
Tuesday market saw 409 boxes of fish for sale, the majority being 110 boxes of Whiting, 87 of monkfish, 72 of haddock. This was landed by 5 of the trawlers that regularly land to Fraserburgh market, also landed were 20 boxes of handline mackerel which was great to see. We really need to celebrate this lovely silver, striped fish, and the method of which it is caught. From Lands End to John O Groats if you own a small vessel with some mackerel hooks, it is possible to earn a sustainable living for a few months of the year catching a beautiful tasty fish, what a great way to earn a living part time!
Fraserburgh is one of Britain’s premier ports with a diverse fleet, including a large fleet of twin rig trawlers fishing for demersal bottom fish but also housing some of Britain’s largest pelagic trawlers. These trawlers tow large nets in the North Sea fishing mainly for herring and mackerel, landing into Scotland, Shetland, and Norway.
North West Scotland
The “Minch” has been the fishing ground many prawn trawlers have chosen to fish this week. This is a Strait in Northwest Scotland separating the Northwest Highlands and Northern inner Hebrides, from Lewis to Harris in the Outer Hebrides. For up to 5 hours at a time, prawn fishermen tow their trawls on the seabed fishing for prawns to be processed for scampi. These boats usually land their catch every 2 days, keeping the prawns as fresh as possible.
Alongside the trawlers the fishermen use the method of potting or as they call it creeling, for larger prawns. Fishers set their creels close to the shore, near rocks far away from the trawling grounds. These prawns are known as langoustines and are very highly sought after in European restaurants.
The orange boats in the photo to the right show all of the boats fishing the Minch this week.