Thursday 14th February saw the start of a new series of the television programme Fish Fight. The first episode raised significant concerns about the lack of closed sea areas and damage cause to the flora and fauna of the sea bed by some types of mobile fishing gear.
While Hugh's comments are broadly accurate, we would point out the following observations to help those not involved with fishing to attach some scale to his views.
For over 14 years now the Cornish fishing fleets has operated at 55% of its original capacity. In the case of beam trawling that reduction is greater again when compared with general effort reduction. Beam trawlers have traditionally operated in relatively small areas of the fishing grounds. The catches of fish landed by this fishery has increased year on year, indicative of the reduced number of vessels and a stable fishery.
Falmouth Bay has for almost 40 years supported an inshore scallop fishery. Vessels continue to operate in this area as usual. Many fishermen only catch scallops in the summer months, returning to other traditional methods of catching white fish in the autumn and winter. Volumes of white fish in this area are increasing year on year.
We would also like to confirm that fish stocks in the waters surrounding Cornwall are seen as being in good condition and increasing in volume yearly. This may be due in part to the closed sea area off Padstow in north Cornwall, where local fishermen pioneered the first closed fishing box around the UK coast.
We will continue to provide sustainably fished seafood for our customers and support best practices at all times.