News from the Ports: 4th August

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.



saitheTuesday saw 3320 boxes of fish for sale on Peterhead market, this is quite a small amount of fish for a market of its capacity. The fishing vessel Russa Teign K193 had the largest catch with over 1100 boxes of fish including 350 boxes of MSC Haddock and 450 boxes of MSC Saithe (a fish very similar to Pollock, also known as Coalfish, or Coley) making up the majority of the catch. This fish is commonly caught in NW Scotland. It lives mostly in North Atlantic waters, including The Bay of Biscay. Adult fish typically live up to 20 years and grow to over a metre long.

STAR BUY: Saithe.

South West England

Plymouth, Devon

Fish prices are at their highest so far since lockdown, demand is greater than supply with lots of boats still tied up and undergoing refits. For example, Interfish has 4 Beam trawlers, all of which have been tied up for over a month.Their 20m long boats are large vessels for this area and each catch around, 10 tons of fish per week. With all 4 out of the water, this has created a supply problem for fish merchants as restaurants reopen.

Prices in Plymouth this week are as follows: pollock up to £6.00, haddock up to £5.00, turbot £14- £20, bass £10-£12, mackerel £5.00 plus per kilo.

The cuttlefish fishery starts in August, in Devon’s shallow bays until they start to grow and swim to deeper waters. Approximately one ton of small cuttles were landed in Devon yesterday. This is the first sign of what the fishermen call “black gold”. Black for its high ink content and gold as some seasons can be very lucrative if the price stays high and there is no quota on Cuttlefish, meaning they can catch as many as they like.

Looe, Cornwall

Trawlers here have also been on recent refits but have started to go back to sea. Fishing is average for the summer months, with boats catching high valuable prime fish such as lemon sole, monkfish and John Dory but there is not much whitefish about  This time of year, the fishermen start to see squid on the South coast but hardly any has been landed as yet.

With the holiday season now in full swing, some of the smaller boats turn their attention to catching the holiday makers, taking them out for angling trips and diversifying away from their normal workday fishing.

Falmouth, Cornwall 

The scallop fishermen are seeing lower prices being returned on their catch than usual. Scallops going to a factory to be processed are paid on a meat price per kilo, the usual price would be £12-£15 per kilo but I have heard that the meat price has dipped to £6.00-£7.00 per kilo. before COVID-19, fishermen could sell scallops by the dozen to merchants for £4.50, however prices are now down at £3. With this shift in price some fishermen are now changing methods, focusing on trawling.

The market price for lobsters has increased to £18.00 per kilo on fish markets. Cock crabs are selling locally for £4.50 per kilo with hen crabs selling locally for £2.00 per kilo.



Inshore fishermen have recently caught plenty of handline mackerel. These silverfish head into the shallow bays all around the UK at this time of year. Pembrokeshire fishermen have caught these succulent, red meat, fast swimming powerful fish in their plenty and they are still one of the best fish to catch on a rod and line, plus tasty and easy to cook on a simple barbecue!

South East England

Julie Waites, Seafish

The weather is being slightly unpredictable at the moment, making it very challenging at times for our day boats. During the days the boats can get out we are seeing a good number of large lobsters coming in, as well as mackerel, soles, plaice, and Selsey crab. Restaurants are slowly opening up, and the businesses selling on-line or opening new retail outlets, selling direct to the consumer, seem to be as busy as ever.

The National Fishermen’s safety campaign ‘Home and Dry’ was launched on the 7th July; the website provides information on ILO 188, funding, training and safety checklists. Shoreham Port can be seen displaying the huge banner to highlight the campaign.

And the MMO monthly fisheries statistics for May 2020 were published last week; we can see a considerable increase in landings of whelk into Eastbourne, Shoreham and Portsmouth of 800t compared to 400t in 2019.  But a huge decrease in scallops landed into Shoreham to date.

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