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Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Ahead of the game! - Doing our bit for conservation 30 years well before the Landing Obligation made it impossible.

As compared to a box of matches, the largest grade of langoustine or 'crocodiles'

Laid out on the boat's 'sorting table' a small sample from the morning's first haul of (Noway Lobster / nephrops norvegicus / langoustine / Dublin Bay prawns) aboard the pioneering Newlyn trawler, Fern in 1982 - the first year Newlyn boats began fishing the Smalls grounds SW of  Milford in the Celtic Deep - the table was simply constructed from a sheet of 8'x4' marine ply cut in half - with the addition of two short lengths of 2"x2" running either side of the board to contain the fish and two short strops (see the knot in the 2"x2") which held the table in place on the gunwale while a few fish boxes were stacked upside down inboard to support the other side...

A small haul of prawns contained in the deck pound

the following year when the Keriolet SS114 under skipper 'Traz' Treloar joined the fishery the same arrangement was used - one crew sorted through the haul on the deck...


Billy Bunn happy in his work - which often meant being in this position from the first haul around  8am until gone midnight after the last haul of the day - the boat laid-to at night.
while the two other crew stood either side of the sorting table grading the prawns - there were baskets for, tailed prawns, small, medium and large or 'crocodiles' as they were known...


the table and deck pound was taken down between hauls to allow for the taking of the four hour tows aboard... 



which were sometimes sizeable...



shooting away on the Smalls after the first haul - the decks are clear of pound boards and the sorting table...


the Keriolet had a reputation for rolling - in the first photo the prawn table is not fastened to the gunwale - which resulted in it being lost overboard on the first trip!...


 subsequently when the Keriolet  returned to prawning a few years later a shelterdeck...

baskets laid out for each grade of prawn and white fish
 and a more permanently mounted prawn table had been built port side...


so the old saying goes, "where there's muck there's brass" - prawns prefer muddy bottoms in order to construct their burrows - which, according to research, they show no particular ownership.

These photos were all taken well before quotas of any sorts were introduced and talk of 'nil discards' and 'landing obligation' were unimaginable! Wind the clock forward to today an we find a very different story with the law of unintended consequences having a very negative effect - below is a video showing French langoustine fishermen desperate to show they have a better way to fish in the face of the blanket discards ban by using a sorting table on board their prawn trawlers - by using a 'sorting table', their research shows that at least 50% of the prawns they slide back over the side live to see another day! Looks like the Newlyn boats were on to a good thing all those years ago!



The French are campaigning to use this study to prevent a zero discard ban on their prawn fleet


Dutch fishermen are campaigning for their flatfish fishery to be allowed to return their unwanted fish back to see for the same reason - many of the juvenile fish caught in the shallow waters of the North Sea survive.