Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Grey Mullet hit the beach in Sennen - and the headlines!.

The Cornwall Angler's website has asked its followers for their thoughts on the matter:

The report below was in The Western Morning News on March 10th.
They will welcome letters on the subject of netting tonnes of mullet during the spawning season.
What needs to be investigated is what happened to them?
There are reports that in past years the so called prime fish have been dumped or used as pot bait-perhaps the fishermen would send the CFSA full details to clarify the situation.


"A row has broken out over an age-old way of fishing after a huge haul of mullet was caught in West Cornwall waters. An estimated ten tonnes of mullet was caught at Sennen last week with fishermen using the traditional method of seine netting to bring in their prize. But the Cornish Federation of Sea Anglers (CFSA) said that by netting the mullet when they did, the fish were being wiped out during the vulnerable spawning season.

Grey mullet form Sennen have featured on the market at Newlyn for over 100 years

Commercial fisherman have hit back at the claims with a war of words now raging online.

Asking if seine netting should be a thing of the past and replaced with more sustainable fishing, the CFSA wrote on its Facebook page: "The mullet have aggregated for spawning and have been wiped out at their most vulnerable and during the most important phase of their life cycle. The phase when they contribute to the future stock."

But, say supporters of seine netting, the method is sustainable, with generations of people catching fish this way.

A seine net is taken out to sea from the beach to surround the shoal of mullet and the two ends are pulled together to trap the catch. Mullet were for generations a vital part of Sennen's seine fishery. In 1875, some 20,000 tons was landed and The Cornishman reported that around 20,000 fish were caught at the Cove in one night of seine netting alone in 1954. "From growing up in Cornwall (and still living here on leave) I can say that this is the last defence," wrote Jack Glaves on the CFSA Facebook page. "The Alamo of cultural and fishing traditions. "Small fishing boats have been around since man realised they could catch enough fish for their village and are not the cause for concern. It's a bigger world than that and what you see on the coast with the small boat fleet. There are probably large French and Spanish boats off our waters as you read this catching a quantity of fish the same size as this."

Meanwhile Tal Bryant said: "Angling is sustainable and creates thousands of pounds for the economy whilst inflicting little environmental damage. "Commercial fishing practices like this create little for the economy whilst causing considerable unnecessary damage to marine ecosystems." Adding that he believes seine netting is a sustainable way to fish, Andy Wheeler, assistant to the chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: "a few local fishermen carrying out the traditional fishing that has been done for generations is not going to wipe out the mullet population, it is as simple as that.

"There are shoals of mullet all around the coast this time of year and what they caught is a miniscule amount in the grand scheme of things."

Read more: in the Cornishman.
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