Saturday, 1 January 2022

That was the year that was - 2021 in pictures.


Notwithstanding Covid, history was made in January 2021 when Newlyn's fish auction went online signalling the end of the shout auction - ...



busy markets are now devoid of buyers, all of whom bid from the comfort of a remote computer, wherever that may be...



the demise of things that had been a feature of the harbour for many years was to be repeated several times later in the year, the next casualty being landings of fish from the boats in the Waterdance fleet being landed in Newlyn but transported by road for auction at Brixham - which, despite the need to reduce the carbon footprint, sees large quantities of the sea fish then transported back to Newlyn for processing and transported yet again back up the A30 for distribution beyond Cornwall...



January 1st also saw Brexit kick in after the wend of the transition period - heralding the moment when the UK would once again (in the words of politicians like Michael Gove, George Eustace and every other coastal Conservative MP including our own Derek Thomas) 'take back control' so it wasn't long before questions were being asked as to why UK flagged Spanish vessels were landing in Newlyn seemingly unchecked by the MMO...



as February loomed into view the port saw the arrival of a new vessel, bigger than anything ever before, the 42m Enterprise sporting the new company colours of the Ocean Fish/Stevenson buyout and the end of the 'green team' colours of a fleet that for over 50 years were the predominant force in the port...



having used the emotional attachment that UK people, as islanders have to anything to do with the sea, during the Referendum campaign the prime minister increasingly came under attack for failing to deliver on the fishing industry front as a belligerent France, able to exert its sovereign rights (despite being in the EU) did take back control and sought to make life as hard as possible for some sectors of the industry when it came to fishing access and fish exports... 



not for the last time, the year was to see the harbour's Cornish flag fly at half-mast on too many occasions, a fatality at sea and several key figures were to be acknowledged on this way...



March saw a terrifying vision of the future with the landing of a huge 42m UK flagged but largely Dutch owned 'fly-seiner', one of a growing fleet forced to look beyond their traditional working grounds in the North Sea to catch highly valuable but non-pressure stock (ie zero quota restrictions) fish like red mullet and John Dory...



the Newlyn fleet has seen the biggest programme of modernisation in generations and with that the need for a bigger and better resourced harbour, the port's Advisory Board published up-dated concept plans to see deep water berths able to take more of the new breed of vessels that currently see themselves aground for much of a tide when in port...



critics might point to a myriad of small jobs in the harbour that appear to challenge the ability of the port to cater for the needs of all...



this year, a much reduced Scottish prawn fleet put in just a few weeks fishing on langoustine before heading back north to more traditional grounds...



plans to develop Sandy Cove had been on the table for some time and the biggest change to date saw the arrival of the eponymous Sandy Cove boatyard...



at the helm, skipper John Walsh charged in through the gaps with the Parkol built Amanda of Ladram to join the fleet in May...



and the wearing of PFDs by all hands at times deemed necessary are now law under new ILO188 regulations began to hit home - many of the rules jarring with owners and skippers of vessels in small tight-knit fishing communities like Newlyn where issues of slavery and poor working conditions are a million miles away form the kind of fishing vessel operations that these draconian rules were introduced to combat in the less than savoury working conditions found in far-flung corners of the maritime world far removed from small ports like Newlyn...



fish merchants began to see prices rising dramatically as the country headed out of lockdown and restaurants, hotels and corporate eating saw a rising demand for top quality fish that Newlyn is so famed...



"three wheels on my wagon, and I'm still rolling along" in the early summer, times it seems were still hard...



in a move that surprised many, a stunning new fish restaurant with an ethos based on using 'the whole fish' opened its doors for business in July...



and yet another local boat severed its 100% links with Newlyn as the Sapphire III changed colours and became the Steph of Ladram...



at the height of the fine weather in July seven new entrants to the fishing industry completed their training - keep your eyes open for a brand new fishing apprenticeship coming to Newlyn later in 2022...



once the mainstay of the shellfishing port of Douarnenez, pink spiny crawfish were landed from deepwater for the first time in any quantity...



the bigger the boats the bigger fleet manager, all under the control of this man and a challenging year it proved to be...



meanwhile, dredging in the harbour saw more than a few bob's worth of scrap metal loaded aboard the Padstow based dredger, Manin...



July also saw a set of almost life-size paintings adorn the road side of the fish market some of which are based on photographs first seen on these blog pages...



boxes down the fishroom made ready to land...


a welder repairing the derrick of a beam trawler...


and another, using oxyacetylene to make repairs to the scalloper Jacoba...



climate continues to affect changes in the kind of fish seen and caught, the first bluefin tuna was landed legally in August, subsequently only a few more ended their days on fishmongers slabs as a relaxing of the rules now means that the ring netters can land these stunning fish to auction instead of wastefully returning, dead, back to sea any that they may inadvertently catch...



in 2015, the Fishermen's Mission closed its doors after 112 years of providing a safe refuge and somewhere to go and relax, drink tea, be fed or get a shower, bath and bed for the night for visiting fishermen...



which, for many, still rankles especially as the port now has boats with crews largely from the Latvia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ghana - oftentimes Newlyn boats are home to around 80 men who live aboard the vessels they work on when they are not at sea fishing in order to provide a better way of life for their families in home countries far from the UK...



as ever, the greenest of fishermen, the inshore boats work hard to target specific fish at certain times of the year, though mackerel were seemingly less then keen on putting in an appearance in Mounts Bay for much of they year...



late summer weather found the world still gripped in the middle of a pandemic and the ramifications of post-Brexit era yet to unfold fully, many found seeing the way ahead a challenge...



following a tragic accident at sea, the Cornishman left Newlyn in the familiar dark green of the Stevenson fleet and returned in her new corporate colours, changing times indeed...



cuttlefish barely left their mark this year with landings almost non-existent though perhaps not surprising, given it is an almost totally un-regulated fishery...



one member of the famous Pascoe fishing family with their eyes firmly on what the future might hold saw no reason not to invest in a new build and brought the name Huers back to port with this high-speed beast of a boat...



likewise, the Rowse shellfish fleet continues to increase number of boats working pots in the port...



a sure sign of summer, Cornish sardines being landed, though the season proved to be not without its challenges as France, yet again, exercised its ability and 'took control' by rigorously applying the rules over imports of fish held in iced seawater to the UK as a non-EU member thereby ending the ability of local merchants to export fish in slush ice from the UK,  c'est la vie as they say...



hopefully, money from a recently won grant will see the magnificent Ice Works brought back to playing a key role in the life of the port as a 'heritage centre' for the benefit of locals, researchers and tourists alike



there were not only ILO188 for crewed vessels but new regulations arrived on the doorsteps of boat owners of vessels less than 10m bringing with it the onerous task of treating tiny fishing vessels as if they were heading off to the deepwater manned by people not knowing of the job they have been doing for, in some cases 60 years, without having to fill out a huge portfolio of checklist and demands. all to catch a few kilos of mackerel, bass or lobster to feed a few families......



this year the weather treated residents and visitors alike with a seemingly never-ending supply of ...


fabulous sunrises and sunsets...


in October, the sun also set on the incumbent harbourmaster as Rob Parsons left for a similar role in Torbay...



in November, patriarch of the Stevenson family, Billy Stevenson passed away...


and a few weeks later in December, Newlyn's longest-serving harbourmaster Andrew Munson lost his battle with cancer, he was also Penlee Lifeboat operations manager for some 50 years...




with 2022 now upon us, hopefully, and despite everything, the coming together of ideas and concepts will see Newlyn fishing port now transform itself to take advantage of a changing world - as did the port's forebears back in the 1880s when they had the foresight to build )with horses and carts only) not only the South Pier but a year later start work on the North Pier...





a move which saw Newlyn become the biggest port in the south west almost overnight...



hopefully these big, bold new concepts will do the same thing again in a world that sees the need for greater and imaginative diversification to meet the literal challenge of rising tides and increasingly stringer storms sweeping in from the sea.