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Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Monday morning in Newlyn

It has taken the best part of a week for the weather to even begin to look settled which means most of the action has been in the harbour where projects like the massive overhaul of Rowse's new crabber...

which includes removing most of the contents of the main propulsion unit from the boat for overhaul continue despite the wild weather...

so this morning saw a welcome sight as the Cornish sardine boat, Pelagic Marksman completes the hauling process surrounded by hundreds of eager gulls...

less than a mile from the harbour entrance...

just as the Trevessa IV comes down the slip...

the netter, Harvest Reaper lines up under the ice works to take ice for her next trip...

back in port, the Pelagic Marksman makes ready...

to land her fish...

the market refurb is well underway sporting a new roof and new doorways...

quiet enough this morning save for the gulls wheeling on the lookout for breakfast.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Sunday Politics: Pulse fishing - a short review of recent media coverage.

Shocking or not?

"The European Parliament disadvantages Dutch fishermen on the basis of incorrect, manipulated information. This is stated by fisheries biologist Adriaan Rijnsdorp, who watched this week with bewilderment how a large majority of the European Parliament voted for a total ban on the so-called pulse fishery. 'If you serve a political goal with fake news, then you are dirty,' says the professor at Wageningen University.
With the pulse-forming method, fish from the bottom are startled with small electrical impulses, making them easy to catch. Dutch fishermen in particular have embraced this in recent years. To the anger of ailing French fishermen who claim that the Dutch are now emptying the sea. These fishermen recently closed a remarkable coalition with the French environmental organization BLOOM Association. According to BLOOM, any industrial way of fishing is bad and fish are electrocuted and injured by the pulse.

In the run-up to the vote on Tuesday, this newly formed coalition brought dancers to the European Parliament that portrayed electrocuted fish and distributed photos of fish that would have burned by the pulse method. The Dutch fisheries lobby took into account that the number of pulse cutters should be reduced from 20% of the total to 5%. That would be a black scenario. But in the end, what no one expected was happening: 400 of the 750 MEPs voted for a total ban. This makes it possible that the 84 Dutch cutters that fish with the pulse trawl will have to return to the old method in 2019. 

A blow to the Dutch fishermen who wonder despairing where things went wrong. Adriaan Rijnsdorp's research shows that pulse sporeflies are less harmful to the environment than the old-fashioned beam trawling. The soil life is less disturbed and the cape cutters use almost fifty percent less fuel. With great amazement, Rijnsdorp has watched the counter-campaign. As an example, he mentions figures on back fractures in cod that are removed from his publications by BLOOM but are placed out of context. He also denounces the photos of fish with burn marks that were shown in the European Parliament. "These are old photographs of sick fish. No fish that have been burned by the pulse. That is a complete cake, " says Rijnsdorp

The Wageningen researcher is supported by ecology professor Michel Kaiser from Bangor University in Wales. "In their lobbying campaign, BLOOM and fishermen only used the figures that fit their negative story about pulse trawl fishing. That information is distorted, misleading and incorrect." 
Full story from: Een Vandaag

Post Brussel's decision (under heavy pressure from France and the UK) to ban pulse fishing - using electricity to stun fish in place of heavy chain link mats in beam trawls - a look back at a Newsnight story in August 2017.

On the 14th November 2017, Richard Benyon spoke about electric pulse fishing at the Parliament:
“My final point is to ask, please, in the remaining months for which we are in the EU, that we hold it to account to make sure that pulse fishing is banned. It is a bottom trawling system using electrical pulses and is not at all selective. I applaud the Bloom Association and other NGOs that are campaigning hard on it.”

Report on pulse fishing talking to the industry.

The amendment was passed by 402 votes to 232, with 40 abstentions, and called for a total ban on the use of electric current for fishing.… READ MORE :

Friday, 19 January 2018

Fishless #FishyFriday in Newlyn.

Riding high at the top of the tide, the Newlyn fleet gale bound largely thanks to storms Fiona and Georgina...

which means that the grading machine...

has seen little by way of any fish...

as a result of which the market floor was bare this morning save for a few boxes of mackerel and sardines...

leaving the lorry park almost devoid of any signs of life on the largely fishless #FishyFriday.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Pulse fishing ban causes stormy Dutch waters

Twitter was alive with Dutch fishermen posting comments following the banning of pulse fishing - many claining that the media had once again swung the vote and allowed the heart to over-rule the head and the council ruling over science-based evidence.

Even skippers with internet access at sea joined in the conversation and posted heart-felt comments form their wheelhouses!

One of those skippers, with one of the most advanced boats in the fleet which uses pulse fishing at certain times of the year sails aboard his boat Dirk Romkes.

On the bridge at ... Dirk Romkes (MDV-1)

In the section 'On the bridge at ...' we get to know a member of the Dutch Fishermen's Union, to learn more about the person behind the fisherman.
He had his very first meeting this morning in the Council of Members of the Dutch Fishermen's Union. "Good, fun, interesting. You will also hear more about developments that you would otherwise not really get. I find it interesting to be able to think and talk, "says Dirk Romkes, skipper on the MDV-1 Immanuel.
Dirk (36) is married and the father of three sons, aged eleven, seven and two years. That family is - in addition to work on board - his biggest hobby. "No sport or anything else, just the time I can spend with the family and go out together. On weekdays I am busy with fish, so I choose to spend my free time with my wife and sons. "
On the bridge at Dirk Romkes MDV-1

Fascinating experiment

"The crew of our ship consists of five men. We fish in the summer with the normal twinrig on the Dogger Bank on plaice, turbot and lemon sole. Usually we land the catch in Harlingen, after which the fish is sold at the exit of Urk. Now in the winter we often fish a bit closer to the coast, on sole. We do this with the experimental twinrig pulse. Nice job: pull, adjust the rig, try again. The results were getting better. Fascinating to be busy with, but unfortunately that is now thwarted by Europe. "

"My younger brother works in ICT"

Although Dirk grew up in the fishing industry and the fishing profession also went from father to son in the Romkes - his father and younger brother sailed on another cutter who is part of the family business - he deliberately chose the profession himself. "I always liked fishing. My parents have always released us in our choice for the future. My youngest brother has opted for something completely different, he works in ICT. "

"What makes sailing and fishing so beautiful? Yes, that is still the freedom you feel at sea. The space, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the nature around you, jan-van-gents who show their diving skills behind the ship. At sea you experience everything more intensively. Recently we had a passenger on board who was very impressed everywhere. He stayed in the wheelhouse at night instead of going to sleep. He even loved sailing at night. Furthermore, it is the healthy tension that makes the work extra fascinating. You never know beforehand what you catch. Every draw is a surprise what we have caught. "

A landing obligation does not make fishing more selective

What are the lesser aspects of fisherman's existence? Dirk: "First and foremost: I believe that there must be rules so that no chaos arises. But there are a lot of rules now. That makes the work less fun. With the arrival of the European landline obligation, rules are added that are completely meaningless. We will soon have to take all undersized fish to the port. To do that, we have to bring an extra crew member. And the discards take up much else useful space to use. It only costs us a lot of time and money, there is really no positive aspect to the landing obligation. The idea behind it, more selective fishing, I can earn income there. But the measure with which this is now enforced, the compulsory inclusion of unwanted bycatch, does not make the fishery more selective.

"People who make me think are my sources of inspiration"

When asked who his biggest source of inspiration is, Dirk has to think for a moment. "I can not directly call one person. They are people around me. People with knowledge, people who make me think, with whom I come to new thoughts and ideas. They are my sources of inspiration. People with a vision, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. In the fishery there are quite a few people who mainly look at their own weekly and other vessels. But you have to look at the annual results, not just in terms of expenses but also in terms of expenses and what you have left underneath. "

Competitive entrepreneurship

What characterizes a good fisherman? Dirk: "A good fisherman is knowledgeable, knows the good fishwork specifications and is a team player who works well with the rest of the crew. Of course you also have to be competitive, try to achieve the best catches and results. And you must have entrepreneurship. At a time when the fishing industry struggled, we realized this ship together with the Kramer family. That was not just a highlight for me. "
MDV 1 in a nutshell

Sustainability for the future

"What opportunities are there for the fishing industry? That is sustainability in one word. That's what people ask for. Commitment, real action to achieve more in that area, I sometimes miss out on fishing. As with pulse fishing. We need to have it for the future of that kind of sustainability. Not that I am pessimistic about the future of fishing and my own future. Decades ago, the fleet also experienced major problems, but we are still fishing. Fishing will also continue to exist in the future, but we must all put our shoulders under it and be 100 percent behind it. "

Anti-fishing imaging

"The biggest obstacle is the image in the media. It is such a shame that it is usually negative. You hear a lot of anti-fishing sounds. We have to give counter-gas. Perhaps to involve journalists and skeptics more in our work. Take them with them, show them, let them taste. But as a sector, we also have to ensure that we do not come into the picture negatively with things that can not and must not be done! "

Keep it up

And now that your first members' meeting is over, has that changed anything in the image you have of the Dutch Fishermen's Union? "We have been with the Nederlandse Vissersbond for years. I appreciate the 100 percent commitment. During the meeting I met a lot of new people and gained new ideas. My image of the Vissersbond is positive, they ensure that we can continue to fish. We get all the information we need, I think the Weekjournaal has improved considerably in recent years. I can not add much more than that: keep it up! "

January 17, 2018

This story was provided courtesy of the Vissersbond fishing website.

MMO - coming soon near you - marine plan development workshops

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is holding marine plan development workshops throughout the UK between January and March 2018:

There will be three planning workshops in the South West.

  • Newquay: Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Plymouth: Wednesday 7 March 2018
  • Weston-Super-Mare: Thursday 8 March 2018

The workshops are an opportunity to feedback on the draft visions and options for marine planning in the south west. You can also make comments on our Iteration 2 online engagement tool which will open between Monday 29 January 2018 until Thursday 29 March 2018. We will be opening the online engagement in advance to give you an opportunity to consider the materials for engagement ahead of the workshops.

The workshops will show how the process to develop the south west marine plan is progressing, and how the information from previous engagements is being used.

This workshop will provide an ideal opportunity for stakeholders to continue their input to the development of marine plans. The engagement will focus on:

  • draft marine plan area visions
  • draft options to address issues in each marine plan area
  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day

You can register for any of the events on this Eventbrite page:

NB: The workshops are full day events with lunch and refreshments provided. The workshops will all follow a similar structure, but with the main content (the draft vision and options to address issues) being varied between marine plan areas. As spaces at workshops are limited, we would appreciate it if you would avoid holding places and only book for your chosen workshop in your preferred marine plan area. All workshops will run from 9.30am-3.30pm.

We are also holding workshops for the north west, south east and north east marine plan areas. For more information please visit our Eventbrite page.

If you have any questions please contact your local Marine Planners, Neal Gray 0208 225 6647 or Ed Wright 0208 026 2098.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Check out the all new all singing all dancing Cornish Fish Producer's Organisation's website!

The Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation, the local not for profit co-operative for fishermen (of all vessel sizes) in Cornwall, has launched a new website that celebrates the diversity, strength and vibrancy of the Cornish fishing fleet. Members’ testimonies and stories of Cornish fishing heritage help to make this site more than a members' portal for information, it provides an opportunity to learn more about the fishermen that help to land your local Cornish catch and gives us insight into one of the most diverse and sustainable fishing fleets in Europe.

Paul Trebilcock, the CFPO’s Chief Executive shares a few words about the launch:
 “Over the years the CFPO has grown and evolved under the guidance and full control of its members, who are mainly Cornish fishermen, and it remains the genuine voice of fishing today. Now, with the launch of our new website, we have a unique platform to continue to help celebrate and promote the great diversity and sustainability of the Cornish fleet. 
Along with tailored quota and policy information for CFPO members, the new website offers striking photography, excellent stories of sustainability and a chance for the public to learn more about the fishermen who land their local Cornish catch”
Within the new website, you can find links to:

Take an opportunity to explore the new site here: or get in contact if you would like to see your Cornish fishing image or story presented on the site. 

Black rivers of gold as late-season cuttlefish strike and boost Newlyn fish market!

VesselTracker's mobile marine AIS app shows a big fleet of French trawlers using the Cornish peninsula to to shelter from storm Fiona...

as the netting fleet takes shelter in the harbour of Newlyn...

the market starts the day almost as black inside as out...

with the market floor awash...

with sepia (cuttlefish) ink...

along with the big shot of hake from the netter, Ajax...

and this huge haul of cuttles from the beam trawler, Cornishman...

the hake went to a wide range of buyers...

destined for mainly UK markets, a far cry from pre-MSC Certification days when more than 90% of hake would go direct to Spain...

the latest fish to receive attention from the retail industry is the pouting - long since deemed to be a poor cousin to the whiting of cod...

while plaice have always been a popular flatfish for the restaurant trade...

unlike conger eel - a great addition to fish soup or stews - and an even better base for fish cakes with its firm, fibery flesh...

unlike the fish that TV chef extraordinaire Keith Floyd always referred to as the 'King of Fish, the sea bass...

though these days a better educated fish-eating public are enjoying other equally delicious fish like these big tub gurnards that hold their own on any dining table...

every bit as tasty and rewarding to eat as classic fish like these bream and turbot...

"mirror, mirror on the floor".....

who has the blackest boots of all...

as the buyers bid their way through the last of the tubs of black-gold...

looking spotless after washing off all the cuttlefish ink...

most of which was removed yesterday evening from topsides as the boat steamed headlong into storm Fiona on the way back to Newlyn!