News from the Ports: 30th June

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


lemon sole

The larger netter’s are still at sea fishing for hake, turbot and monkfish on the neap tide. Prices are steady and it is continuing to be a struggle for Auctioneers to sell top quality fish at a high price with limited outlets to sell to. There are currently 8 Beam Trawlers working out of Newlyn catching prime species such as Dover sole, megrim Sole, lemon Sole and monkfish. Dover sole seem to be selling well to European markets, but it is still exceedingly difficult to sell megrims which would usually go to Spain or Portugal. Demand is still slow even though restaurants have reopened. Inshore fishing is good for the lobster fishermen, with the water warming up, sending the lobsters inshore and making them easy pickings for the small boat fishermen. Handlining for mackerel seems to be hard work at the moment, they have become quite elusive and harder to catch than usual. The migrating shoals of mackerel do not seem to be appearing in St Mounts Bay this summer. Fishermen are wondering whether as the Westerly wind freshens this will bring a change their fortunes.

STAR BUY:  LEMON SOLE. Lemon Sole can be caught in many parts of the country, they are a very tasty and popular flat fish with a succulent white meat. To learn how to make delicious lemon sole goujons click here.
Photographed is Stuart Cairns, crew on the Twin Rig Trawler Kindred Spirit, showing a pair of Prime Lemon Soles caught earlier in the week.

Northern Ireland


The whole prawn market is still extremely poor with limited markets, although there seems to be an increase in demand for prawn tails. These boats have been asked to land half of what they would normally, but as from Monday normal business will resume and local boats will be able to land all their catch. Inshore lobster fishing is generally good this time of year but with no European export, small inshore fishermen are adapting by selling their catch locally. This a fantastic opportunity for the local people to purchase and enjoy a great local product.

South East England

Julie Waites, Seafish

We are back to the bad weather and storms from last weekend hindering fishing efforts in many areas. Despite that some excellent quality seabass, Dover sole, lobsters and plaice have been landed.

The MMO statistics for January to April 2020 were published at the end of last week.  The twelve main ports I looked at the MMO statistics for in the South East of England included Portsmouth, Selsey, Littlehampton,  Shoreham, Newhaven, Eastbourne, Brighton, Hastings, Rye, Ramsgate, and up to Whitstable and Leigh on Sea. The total landings weight was 3826t, with a value of £6.8m for cumulative months of January to April. Shoreham was named the number one port for scallops in 2019, landing 6.169t by UK vessels.  January to April this year UK vessels landed 1.323t into Shoreham. Whelk’s landings were dominated by the ports in Shoreham landing 633t, Eastbourne 504t and Ramsgate landing 145t of common whelk. The UK in total lands approximately 10,000t of whelk per annum, and they are normally widely exported to the Far East, particularly South Korea.

North East Scotland


Tuesday market saw the selling of 4948 boxes of fish. Pair trawlers the “Boy John” IN5110 and “Rosebloom” IN5353 landed 1751 boxes between them. These vessels tow one large net between them and their catch consisted of:

– 320 Boxes of cod
– 22 Boxes of Monkfish
– 450 Boxes of Haddock
– 75 Boxes of Whiting
– 530 Boxes of Hake

This making up the bulk of the catch. Prices in Peterhead on Monday were:

– Cod average £3.15 per kilo
– Monk average £3.30 per kilo
– Haddock average £3.60 per kilo
– Whiting £1.80 for the larger grades
– Hake £2.00 for large going down to 0.70p for the small Hake

Peterhead Fish Market has increased its daily box capacity to a 6500 box limit, this is up from the usual 5000. Keeping to the social distancing regulations, fish boxes are kept at least 2 metres apart and boxes are stacked 2-3 high. Landings are high with an average of 28,000 boxes of fish currently crossing Peterhead Market.

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