The vagaries of the fishing industry
10:30 a.m. March 4, 2022
Well, it’s been a stormy week and we’ve probably never seen three storms like this, all one after the other.
Firstly Storm Dudley which was bad but still allowed bigger beam trawlers out and we had another £1m week last week (ending Feb 18). Then came Storm Eunice, which blew up all boats over the weekend of February 19-20, so there were no fish at the start of this week to be auctioned.
And finally, Storm Franklin didn’t look so bad, but the change in wind direction is keeping the medium and smaller boats going all week.
As a result, this week has been the quietest for many years and shows just how unpredictable the fishing industry can be. No one made any money, from the fishermen themselves to the buyers, not to mention all the local traders. One thing we can’t control is the weather!
Before the storms, fish prices were very good for this time of year, but we expect them to be even higher when we can sell fish again!
This is also the time of year when many beam trawlers head for the Bristol Channel to fish for sole. Dover are our ‘crown jewels’ and fetch a very good price at auction. Bought mainly by European customers, they will fetch around £16 per kg.
The Dover sole is graded by our grading machine into 10 different sizes, with Grade 1 being the largest and Grade 10 being the smallest. On busy evenings, the grader can weigh and grade approximately 200 fish per minute. The grader is also used for plaice, turbot, monk and other varieties of sole.
We had an interesting visitor last week. Three directors of the Maaskant shipbuilders in Holland have visited Brixham as they wish to consider an investment in the South West. With restrictions on UK vessels entering Europe, they are looking to expand into the UK fishing industry and are also looking to build a shipyard to repair UK fishing boats, so they don’t have to visit in Holland. It’s great that they are thinking of Brixham and it became clear that they would employ local trades people as the expertise is already there.
Finally, BTA is always looking to help our local community and we are proud sponsors of many local youth sports clubs. This week we have also made significant donations to Rowcroft for their monopoly fundraising in South Devon, the Torbay RNLI for their amazing Kilimanjaro Challenge and we have committed to the Seafood Coast Experience, which will be up and running again this week. year, showing all that Torbay has to offer.