Cornish fishing industry looking at improved circumstances and growth

The Newlyn fishing industry is benefiting from a better brand recognition, according to the head of Cornwall’s largest fishing co-operative, after new figures showed the sector expanded in the South West last year. According to a comprehensive report published recently by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), UK fishing boats landed less catch last year, but saw a massive increase in value.

In Newlyn, 10,300 tonnes with a value of just over £22 million were landed in 2011, with monkfish, sardines and crabs the three biggest catches. The haul placed Cornwall’s biggest port third in England and the South West, behind Plymouth and Brixham in terms of quantity, and second in terms of value. The majority of Newlyn’s value came from landings of demersaldemersal Living on the seabed fish, with total catches equating to £16.4 million.

Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation, put the increased takings as being down to, in part, better recognition of the Cornish brand. He said: “In terms of Newlyn we would be pointing at the fact that the value of the fish landed by our boats is increasing, our Newlyn boats are contributing to this. The value of fish landed by the Cornish fleet is definitely going up. That is down to a combination of things. Improving stocks, the abundance of fish we are catching, important stocks such as herring, hake, monkfish and pollack. There is a better brand recognition that Cornish fish is of the highest quality and wanted by quality buyers, and is likely to be sensitively caught. Chefs such as Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein are pointing to Cornish fish as being the very best in terms of quality.”

The recent MMO report showed that in the Cornish FPO territory, more than 15,000 tonnes of fish were landed with a value of £35.5 million. Elsewhere in the South West, Brixham saw more than £26 million worth of fish landed, mainly scallops, monkfish and cuttlefish. Plymouth saw 14,000 tonnes of mainly horse mackerel, mackerel and scallops landed.

Mr Trebilcock added the figures proved the fishing industry deserved respect: “It’s time this Government recognises the impact, particularly here in Cornwall, of the fishing industry.”

Source: This is Cornwall, 6th September 2012

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