Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Heavy showers and sunshine in Newlyn on Saturday.

It's that time of year when the Newlyn Harbour Lights volunteers get busy...

between heavy showers and huge clouds the harbour gets a blast of solar power...

visiting Irish vessel Velvet Chord II S750...

a brace of Rowse crabbers...

sparks fly on the deck of the Sapphire II...

while the crew on the Admiral Blake go through their beam trawls...

 the Crystal Sea has taken her usual weekend break...

while it is time for the boys from the Joy of Ladram to let go the ends so that they can take ice, though I doubt they will sail until tomorrow morning looking at the forecast for the rest of the day...

a brace+1 of Rowse crabbers...

gear  overhauling under heavy showers...

as skipper Paul helps out...

replacing worn shackles and links on the chain mat of the sapphire II...

as Roger Nowell heads up the harbour to take ice...

nice pic of the Sapphire II on the company truck...

just a few more links to go...

twixt heaven and hell...

as the local gull population...

wheel around the harbour...

 looking for breakfast...

with most of the fleet at sea there's not much doing for them!


Friday, 4 December 2020

Study proves bits of DNA in seawater correlate to the weight of netted fish.


DNA bits in seawater samples drawn during New Jersey government fish trawls reveals relative abundance of fish with a 70% match between the two sampling methods;

In addition to great concordance, the study finds that each method yields information missed by the other.The research advances a novel, inexpensive way to census oceans from surface to seafloor, help monitor fisheries, assess shifts in marine life due to climate change, around coral reefs, aquaculture or wind farms, oil rigs, and more. Credit: Capt. Steve Cluett (retired), R/V Seawolf Humanity is a step closer to answering one of the most ancient of questions—"how many fish in the sea?"—thanks to newly-published proof that the amount of fish DNA collected in a water sample closely corresponds to kilos of fish captured in a trawl with nets.

In a breakthrough study, scientists report that floating bits of DNA found in small water samples reveal the relative biomass of fish in the sea roughly as well as a 'gold standard' US state government trawl with nets. The researchers drew seawater samples during New Jersey government fish trawls and tested the water for fish DNA. Analysis of the water was able to reveal the relative abundance of fish with a 70% match in results between the two sampling methods. In addition to the great concordance between methods, the study found that each sampling method yielded information missed by the other. While environmental DNA ("eDNA") has been proven before as a reliable way to determine the variety of fish in an area of water, the new study is the first to show that bits of eDNA floating in seawater also disclose the relative abundance of the species swimming through it.

Published by the prestigious ICES Journal of Marine Science, the paper certifies 'fishing for DNA' as an inexpensive, harmless complement to nets, acoustics and other established ways to monitor the health of fish stocks and/or the shifting diversity, distribution and abundance of aquatic life. The paper, a collaboration between The Rockefeller University, Monmouth University, and the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries, says the information about the diversity and relative abundance of fish available in a one-liter sample is comparable to a 66 million liter trawl sweep, enough seawater to fill a football stadium to the top of the goalposts. During four voyages by the New Jersey Ocean Trawl Survey in 2019 aboard the research vessel Sea Wolf, scientists led by Dr. Mark Stoeckle, Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University Program for the Human Environment, drew one-liter pop-bottle sized water samples from various depths just before the trawler's nets were lowered. The finding has profound implications for improving global fisheries management and has led to early proposals for a "Great American Fish Count" in rivers and coastal waters, aided by millions of citizen scientists, comparable to Audubon's Great Backyard Bird Counts.

Fish and other organisms shed DNA like dandruff, Dr. Stoeckle explains, leaving an invisible trail wherever they swim. This environmental DNA can be skin cells, droppings, urine, eggs, and other biological residues that last in the ocean for a few days. One year of eDNA sampling, out-of-pocket costs: $12,000 The eDNA process is straightforward and extremely inexpensive compared with traditional marine life monitoring methods, which involve ships with large crews and hand counts. Co-author Zachary Charlop-Powers at The Rockefeller University, lead developer of the software used in the DNA analyses, explains that eDNA testing involves collecting and filtering a water sample, extracting and sequencing the DNA in a laboratory, then matching the results found in an online DNA reference library. "The bioinformatic tools used by the team are the same 'barcode' analysis pipelines commonly used by microbiologists but were adapted for the study of marine vertebrates." He notes too that the year of sampling and DNA extraction required an investment of just $12,000, exclusive of salaries.

Message in a bottle: DNA in 1 litre of seawater = a trawl sweep of 66 million litres, enough to fill a sports stadium to top of goalposts.A proposed "Great American Fish Count," involving citizen scientists collecting waters samples, could set stage for 2nd global Census of Marine Life during the upcoming UN Oceans Decade.Here Monmouth University Assistant Professor of Biology Keith Dunton gathers eDNA in water samples. Credit: Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute "The applications of environmental DNA in the marine realm are vast," says Dr. Stoeckle, a Harvard-educated MD who helped pioneer DNA "barcoding," the identification of species from a small region of the animal's DNA sequence.

"eDNA offers a low-cost way to monitor the effectiveness of a marine protected area, for example, or whether efforts to restore a coral reef are succeeding. It could reveal the ecological effects of marine industrial activities, including offshore wind farms, oil and gas rigs, and commercial and recreational fishing." Adds Dr. Stoeckle: To put this in perspective, if we thought of a trawl as a full medical CAT or MRI scan, then eDNA can be thought of as a pocket ultrasound—it can be carried and used anywhere in the hospital, without the time and expense of scheduling a full-scale exam. And eDNA surveys will become better and more informative every year as the technique improves and the DNA reference library grows. Says co-author Dr. Jason Adolf, Endowed Associate Professor of Marine Science, Monmouth University, "eDNA could also be used to identify life in ocean regions hard to access with trawls, such as very rocky areas, or places too deep or too shallow."

Monmouth co-author Dr. Keith J. Dunton, an expert on endangered fish species, notes that the results are promising for rare as well as common fish species. "eDNA along with other technologies like acoustic telemetry offers a sensitive, non-extractive way to monitor declines and revivals of rare, threatened, and endangered species," he says. "We do not have to put them through stressful capturing to know that they are there." Trawl surveys, the main tool used to monitor fish populations, have carefully established protocols and yield rich information but are costly, time-consuming, and require special equipment and fish identification experts. Due to the crew size needed, such trawls have been limited recently by COVID-19.

The New Jersey surveys every season involve deploying a bottom trawl, similar to that used in commercial fishing, behind a vessel over a predetermined pattern. The catches in the nets are hauled up and sorted on tables where the weight of each identified species is recorded. Between 30 and 40 trawls are done about every three months.

To compare the trawl survey to the eDNA survey, one-liter water samples were collected at the surface and at depth before the trawls were done. However, samples were only taken before every fourth trawl. When the data from the two surveys were analyzed, the eDNA survey found most of the same fish species, and also found species not captured in the trawl. And it did so with only one-quarter of the samples taken and a fraction of the effort involved.

The paper says most (70% to 87%) species detected by trawl in a given month were also detected by eDNA, and vice versa, including nearly all (92% to 100%) abundant species. Conversely, most dropouts were relatively rare taxa. Trawl and eDNA peak seasonal abundance agreed for about 70% of fish species. In other comparisons, monthly eDNA species "reads" correlated with the monthly weight, or biomass, of that species recovered in the trawl. The eDNA reporting "largely concorded with monthly trawl estimates of marine fish species richness, composition, seasonality, and relative abundance," the paper says. "It's important to understand that the results of both methods are true, and complementary," noted Stoeckle. "They catch a lot of overlapping, concordant information as well as some information unique to each method."

Monmouth University student Skyler Post stores water and eDNA samples. Credit: Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute Gregory Hinks of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who co-authored the paper with Bureau of Marine Fisheries colleague Stacy M. VanMorter, adds: "During times like COVID when it is unsafe to conduct surveys with large crews, the eDNA method might allow us still to maintain some continuity in our surveys. In any case, piggybacking eDNA onto an existing survey may eventually provide an affordable way to improve marine fish stock assessment."

The new paper lays out further research required, such as better calibration of eDNA 'reads' to fish body mass—how much DNA is shed by 1,000 anchovies weighing 1 kilo, for example, compared with a one kilo sized sea bass?—and how to account for eDNA reads that may be the result of injury due to a predator attack. Since collecting water for eDNA is so quick and easy to do, research or oceanographic vessels and commercial and recreational vessels can collect samples as they travel from place to place. Even drones could be deployed to collect water samples. And with the benefit of additional studies in marine and freshwaters, estimates of animal numbers using eDNA will continue to improve as well as the DNA reference data banks that allow reliable identification of aquatic species.

eDNA opens the way to surveys of unprecedented value, quality, and affordability, says Jesse Ausubel, Director of The Rockefeller University's Program for the Human Environment, who developed and helped oversee the first international Census of Marine Life, a decadal (2000-2010) collaboration of about 2,700 scientists in 80 countries. "eDNA makes the ocean a sea of biological information," he says. "In the U.S. we could organize a Great American Fish Count in which millions of citizen scientists might collect water for eDNA testing spanning all our waters. Globally, the incipient UN Decade of the Oceans could include a Great Global Fish Count sampling from sea floor to sea surface and near shore to mid-ocean all during a single day or week."

Tony MacDonald, Director of the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute, says "Our institute and scientists were excited to support this innovative work, one of several partnerships in recent years between UCI and The Rockefeller University Program for the Human Environment." "We hope to have the opportunity to continue and expand our collaboration with New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection Marine Fisheries and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on future fish trawls to further advance eDNA research."

Comments Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator: "NOAA is rapidly advancing 'omics technologies, including eDNA, to improve our ability to monitor and understand biological communities in our oceans and the Great Lakes."

"Important applications include monitoring endangered and invasive species, assessing biodiversity for ecosystem health, tracking aquaculture pathogens, and augmenting fisheries surveys." "Through the NOAA 'Omics Strategy' and our forthcoming Implementation Plan, we have defined goals and actionable steps to integrate modern 'omics technologies to help meet our mission. Collaboration with Rockefeller University and other partners will allow us to expand and advance 'omics research and eDNA in direct support of the American Blue Economy."

Marine eDNA's potential applications include: 

  • Exploration: discovering species previously unknown in certain ranges 
  • Discovering rare species and others unknown to science (or absent from genome databases) 
  • Sampling remote, difficult-to-reach, and intriguing places 
  • Assessment of the size of fish stocks 
  • Identifying the range of marine animals 
  • Determining the effect of protected area designation on fish and other marine animal populations and other forms of ecological restoration 
  • Monitoring the effect on native species of fish farming operations, offshore oil and gas operations, or wind farms 
  • Determining the effects of artificial reefs, of severe storms and other disturbances to marine ecosystems including harmful algal blooms 
  • Monitoring vulnerable, threatened or endangered species, invasive species, or the presence of species dangerous to swimmers Gauging the impacts of climate variability 
  • Mapping marine animal diversity, distribution, migration and abundance, including invasive species, and species popular with sport fishers
Full story courtesy of by ICES Journal of Marine Science cc 

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Women gone fishing .

Seems female fishermen are increasingly getting noticed in the media...

from the far north, Pittenweem's lady-trawlerman...

to Nicky Pascoe and her brother Jason working from Falmouth to...

Newlyn's latest recruit Amy who fishes aboard the Cornish sardine boat Golden Harvest, she's not keen on the term fisher, "sounds like some sort of wound"...

while across the Channel working from her home port of Landes, Marie Biarrot is 'patron de pĂȘche' with her inshore gillnetter, Pont BarrĂ©.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Listen to the key features of the new Fisheries Act with Vicoptria Prentis MP and Anne Freeman, Deputy Defra Direcor.


The great team at Fathom podcasts end the year on their 30th (but, hopefully not final) episode, and it's a landmark moment that no doubt will go down in history: the UK Fisheries Bill has passed through parliament and received royal assent, becoming the UK Fisheries Act.

The Act will provide the legislative framework for future fisheries management in the UK, replacing the Common Fisheries Policy as we depart from the EU. It’s 133 pages long, and not that easy to read... the good news is, they’ve read it all - so you don’t have to!

In this unmissable episode, we talk to Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis MP, and Defra Deputy Director Anne Freeman, to break down what the Act really means for the industry. You might be curious about why the phrase ‘framework Act’ is continually bashed about - we’ll explore what this means, along with how the key tagline of ‘taking back control of our waters’ will be achieved. 

We also ask our guests about the huge sticking point of sustainability, unearthing where the objective of sustainable fishing sits in the Act, as well as exploring the climate change, ecosystem and bycatch objectives. 

Tune in to learn about so much more: localised fisheries management plans, quotas, foreign vessel access. The changes embedded in the Act will be felt on water, so it really is one to get your head around.

Podcast hosts:

Paul Trebilcock Katrina Ryan

Podcast guests:

Victoria Prentis MP, Fisheries Minister Anne Freeman, Defra Deputy Director

Links UK Fisheries Act

Seafish sustainable management survey - a chance to get your message across!

New fisheries management groups for UK shellfish Fishing industry invited to engage with groups to support ongoing sustainable management of important commercial fisheries. Three management groups have been formed to focus on sustainability leadership for shellfish fisheries around the UK. The groups provide a forum for the shellfish industry, regulators and the research community to work together to improve the management of these important resources and to increase the value they provide.

Shellfish Industry Advisory Group The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group (SIAG) is focused on the strategic issues that impact all shellfish fisheries. This will cover trade issues, competition for marine space and the overarching management measures that need to be in place to ensure the sustainable management of individual species.

The group was formed in November 2019. It has met four times to define priority work areas for the group to focus on. A key priority is the development of a National Shellfish Fisheries Plan.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO (National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations) and Chair of the SIAG said:

In 2019 over 137,000 tonnes of shellfish were landed in the UK, at a value of over £370 million. This made shellfish the UK’s most valuable fishery. While Covid-19 has significantly impacted the sector in 2020, much of the shellfish landed in the UK is exported and growing markets around the world have led to an increased demand for UK shellfish. This in turn has led to an increase in fishing pressure on some species and stocks.

The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group will look to tackle the challenges of managing these commercially important fisheries in a sustainable way. Our next step will be the development a National Shellfish Plan to establish a set of strategic objectives that will drive the management of all shellfish fisheries going forward. As well as the SIAG, two sub-groups will focus on specific species:

Whelk Management Group (WMG); and Crab and Lobster Management Group (CMG). 

The creation of these groups is an important step in bringing together members of the seafood industry, to work together to improve the sustainable management of commercially important shellfish fisheries.

Whelk Management Group Following the creation of the SIAG, the WMG was formed in February 2020 to focus solely on issues around whelk fisheries. Its membership is made up of representatives from across the supply chain. This includes active whelk fishermen and processors, fishermen’s associations and producer’s organisations alongside government and research institutes.

The main objective of the WMG is to focus on the effective management of whelk stocks to ensure their long-term sustainability. Key to this will be:

  • implementing data collection and research programmes to improve understanding of whelk stocks. and identifying the management measures necessary for their long-term sustainability. Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish and Chair of the WMG said:

The UK whelk fishery has expanded significantly in recent years due to growing demand for whelks. Between 2015 and 2019 the value of whelks landed in the UK increased by 40% which has led to a greater number of vessels fishing for them. The seafood industry is concerned about the long-term sustainability of whelk fisheries and the creation of the WMG provides the opportunity for all parties to work collaboratively to provide solutions.

Our initial focus is on establishing a reliable baseline of information that covers everything from stock biology, the effectiveness of management measures, the interaction with other fisheries, and the economic value of the fishery. This baseline will help identify our knowledge gaps and highlight where we should focus next. Crab and Lobster Management Group As with whelks, displacement of fishing activity from other sectors and new markets for UK crab and lobster have increased interest in these fisheries in the last few years.

The CMG is the newest of the shellfish groups, and was formed in July 2020. It is focused on improving the operational management of our crab and lobster fisheries to ensure their long-term sustainability. The CMG has met twice so far and is now working on defining its objectives and its short-term work programme.

Claire Pescod, Head of Sustainability and Science at Macduff Shellfish, Chair of the CMG said:

Between 2015 and 2019 the value of UK crab and lobster landings increased by 78% and 43% respectively though there has been little change in the volume of landings. There are concerns from industry that market demand could increase fishing pressure to unsustainable levels.

It’s important that we address these concerns, so we’re starting with a review of the measures currently in place to manage crab and lobster fisheries. This review will be used to inform discussions on additional management measures for implementation so that we can be confident these species are on a sustainable footing. Further information The SIAG, WMG, and CMG meet on a quarterly basis with the next meetings to be held in early 2021.

To find out more visit the individual group pages on our website:

Shellfish Industry Advisory Group

Whelk Management Group

Crab and Lobster Management Group

Get in touch

If you have questions about the Crab Management Group contact: Lewis Tattersall Marine Sustainability Manager

Monday, 30 November 2020

CFPO members please help!


Cornish fishermen & CFPO members with vessels under-10m, make sure you complete this short food-hygiene questionnaire & send to - many thanks!

Only 50% of questionnaires originally sent out have been returned so far, complete yours here Right pointing backhand index If you sell your fish or shellfish either directly (or indirectly through auction market/first buyer) outside the UK then this matter should be given your highest priority. This is because of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU). 

Please be aware that catch that is landed from vessels that have filled out the questionnaire or been inspected by the Council will be able to be exported in compliance with the hygiene and traceability requirements that exporters will be subject to.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

'Home and Dry' photo competition!

 This summer we saw fishing families from across the UK come together and spread the message of fishing safety. ⠀

It was all thanks to you. It was your photos and personal stories that made the #HomeAndDry campaign so meaningful, hitting home for fishermen across the nation. ⠀

This Christmas, we are calling upon you - our fishermen and fishing families - to help make sure everyone gets #HomeAndDry for Christmas.⠀ ⠀

To enter:

Choose three high-quality photos which show what #HomeAndDry means to you: being with family and friends, having someone waiting for you, someone greeting you down on the quay, being reunited with your loved ones. ⠀

Send your photos to or @backhomeanddry on Instagram or Facbook by Friday 18th December and your name will be entered into a random draw to win a £100 gift voucher towards your festive celebrations. ⠀

Please note that people photographed on board fishing vessels must be wearing lifejackets. ⠀

Photos can be taken with a camera or mobile phone but must be high-resolution images (600X1067 minimum resolution) ⠀

Link to Home and Dry Instagram and Facebook accounts. ⠀