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
This week saw a big Spring tide which has now starting to ease. With decent fine weather ahead, the larger gill netters decided to set sail over the weekend on the search for Marine Stweardship Council certified hake. Rowse fishing, Newlyn’s largest crab fishing company, have put their newest addition, the fishing vessel Bon Accord TO70 to sea for the first time this week, this vessel is 6th in the line up for the Rowse fleet, owned by Mark and Emma Rowse. Their fleet fish in Cornish waters for crab and lobster, landing and selling under the name Real Cornish crab company, which of course it is! You can purchase their fine crab online here.
Over recent nights, the Cornish sardine fleet have been working solidly, harvesting sardines from St Mounts Bay, landing tons of fish on Sunday night. These fishing vessels shoot a ring net around a shoal and pull it in, tightening the bottom of the net, trapping the fish inside. Altogether there are 6 of these vessels using this method all from Newlyn, Cornwall.
Chichester, West Sussex
An Atlantic blue fin Tuna was washed up and found at Thorney Island, weighing 180 kg. This lovely fish showed no sign of damage or any evidence that it had encountered misconduct from any fishing gear to cause its death. This species was previously classed as endangered but was reclassified as near threatened in 2015, showing that this fish was improving in numbers but still needed valuable caution on the approach in their management. The UK is helping with this and holds no quota for blue fin tuna, meaning no commercial UK fishing vessels are allowed to fish for them or land them.
North West Scotland
Tuesday’s market saw 15 fishing vessels landing their short trip hauls into Peterhead, this was due to poor weather in the North sea. 1972 in total boxes of fish were for sale which is a very small market for Peterhead, with a usual capacity of 6500 boxes per day. There were 309 boxes of cod, 705 boxes of haddock and 218 boxes of squid, which made up the bulk of the fish being landed. The larger trawlers normally land only once a week with catches up to 500 boxes of fish with a mixture of cod, haddock, whiting, hake, and saithe.
Inshore potting for lobsters and crab is coming to an end and with winter on the way these fishermen will start to bring their gear ashore. Crab and lobsters migrate to deeper waters therefore making them harder to catch, plus working fishing gear in shallow waters in bad weather becomes a huge challenge when trying to keep the gear from being smashed up against rocks or being washed out to sea.
STAR BUY: Haddock Found mainly in the North Atlantic ocean, this fish has the elongated, tapering body shape which is typical of the cod family, another favourite with the public in the fish and chip shops but also tastes amazing when smoked which gives it a rich yellowy colour and a distinctive taste. Smoked haddock is amazing when paired with a poached egg, click here for our quick and easy recipe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen huge restrictions and poor export markets for prawn fishing, making it incredibly hard work for these fishermen. Even now they still only allowed to fish for 4 days at a time and local fishing grounds have taken a battering. Fishermen are seeing some poor catches and are now having to travel further afield to find prawns. The 4-day trip was introduced by the prawn merchants. With smaller and more frequent landings, it makes a better quality and fresher produce to sell, prompting calls to go back to the more traditional method where the fisher lands when he likes, allowing them to travel a further distance in search for the prawns. As we get closer to autumn, prawns normally appear on a patch of ground called “The Smalls”. This is located halfway between Southern Ireland and Southern England and is a large clean patch of ground which is absolutely perfect for harvesting prawns.
South East England
Julie Waites, Seafish
As autumn approaches we are starting to see larger offshore species landed. Many boats are bringing in a fruitful amount of squid, large line caught seabass and flatfish, such as plaice, brill and occasionally turbot.
The Colchester native oyster is renowned all over the world, they are fattened in the nutrient-rich waters of Pyefleet Creek which gives them their distinctive flavour. September is their favourite time of year, as the waters cool down and the Colchester native oysters are ready for harvesting. It takes about five years for a native oyster to grow to market size, so they only release a limited amount each year.
The South East is an important shellfish area. The MMO statistics have been published for June 2020. Compared to June 2019 landings were significantly less for whelks, cockles, crabs and scallops. We should see these figures improve into July and August. Further statistics can be found here.
Shoreham Port’s latest video series have concluded for this summer, after six weeks of insightful videos exploring the varied departments and activities of the busy South-coast port. This includes insights into the visiting scallop boats, timber, aggregates, cereals and grains. They can be found on their You-Tube channel here.