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
Brixham is renowned throughout Europe for its large fleet of beam trawlers, where up to 20 of these trawlers land each week. They are now in summer “refit” season, during which fishermen have their boats painted as well as a general overhaul. With a few boats tied up because of this, the demand is high for fish with prices slowly gaining week by week. The summer fishing for the larger boats, targeting monkfish, Dover sole and lemon Sole is well underway.
Brixham Trawler Agents are also taking fish “overland” from other ports such as Portsmouth, Mudderford, Weymouth Lymington and Poole to name but a few. These ports are mainly home to the smaller boats which are under 10 metres. Many of these boats use the single-handed rod and line method and are catching sass, netted sole and plaice and summer cuttlefish caught in traps. The cuttlefish are being caught in reasonable amounts by the fishermen with a steady price being £2.00 per kilo, this will now be the new average price, due to COVID-19, for summer 2020.
The recently installed fish action clock is helping, not only with better fish prices but also with social distancing, as buyers can now buy remotely rather than stand side by side on the market floor.
STAR BUY: Lobster. These are caught all over the UK and are great Shellfish to eat. Click here for a quick and easy grilled lobster recipe
Pictured is Newlyn fisherman Andrew Stevens holding up a Cornish Lobster on his boat Benediction FH623. Andrew is a single-handed fisherman he is a former trawlerman fishing up and down the Cornish Coast and has spent a lifetime at sea. He is also a crewman on one of Britain’s best known lifeboats, Penlee.
Prices are on the up! With demand for prime fish such as,such as Dover Sole, growing, they are now selling for between £10-£13 per kilo, whereas only a few weeks ago the price was half of that amount. Plymouth market is selling 10-15 tonnes of fish per day on average and there are occasions when its still hard to get a good price for fish such as haddock on the day of large landings. Plymouth market’s motto throughout the Coronavirus is still the same as before: “little is more” meaning land as little as you can, and you will make more money!
South East England
Julie Waites, Seafish
The quality of Dover sole being caught is seeing some thicker and fatter specimens, it is now they come into their prime condition. Flounder is not well known and often used for lobster pot bait, when in prime condition they are not to dissimilar to plaice. Grey mullet is also not that well known and is selling into London as available.
As the good weather continues, we are seeing lots of other different species coming in from bass, bream, huss, skate, turbot and crab. Mixed boxes remain popular and act as a great solution to help sell what the fishermen catch, rather than targeting certain species. Prices from £20 per box.
Mallaig consists of many prawn trawlers, which, instead of their usual 3-day trips, are working on a single day fishing basis, landing small amounts of prawns and fish so not to “flood” the small demand they have for their produce. Along with catching prawns, they often catch cod, haddock, hake and the occasional monkfish.
The potting boats, known in Scotland as creel boats, have also had to reduce their catches as demand is still down due to the Coronavirus.
North West Scotland
This Tuesday’s market saw the selling of 4967 boxes of fish which included:
– 582 boxes of cod
– 1400 boxes of haddock
– 740 boxes of saithe
– 580 boxes of whiting
There has been more demand from the buyers, bringing the prices of fish up. With lockdown easing, there has been higher activity around the country especially from fish and chip shops. The market’s main goal is to keep the landings going through the system to supply the UK and Europe with the highest quality of Scottish fresh fish.