February 2012

Day Boat Fisherman Championed by BBC’s Fisherman’s Apprentice

One of our day boat fishermen, Danny Phillips, has been praised for his fish catching methods in BBC2’s The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls. The series, broadcast between February and April gives an insight into the sustainable fishing practices undertaken by Danny and other day boat fishermen at Cadgwith Cove in Cornwall.

For six weeks, marine biologist and professional diver, Monty Halls, works with the fishermen in order to understand what is really involved in getting seafood into our plates. He strikes out to sea with Danny on his netting boat, the Scorpio, and learns first-hand how to pull in a catch.

Danny, who supplies some of our terrific Monkfish, Ray, Red Mullet and Spider Crabs educates Monty by showing him the high quality of tangle net and line-caught fish. He then demonstrates the advantages of using traditional fishing methods, which are sustainable due to the small number of fish caught.

Danny hopes that people watching the show will understand why catching fish in this way makes it more expensive. He also hopes the programme will benefit their inshore fleet by encouraging more people to eat traditionally caught fish.

The series highlights that bad weather, increasing operation costs and market demand are not the only issues faced by the Cadgwith fleet. Boat numbers have reduced by a third in the last 50 years as government legislation continues to restrict the type of catch day boats are permitted to land. Unfortunately, these measures have made some fishermen’s livelihoods too difficult to sustain.

Despite these challenges, the Cornish day boat brand remains strong, as Danny’s Monkfish and Red Mullet often appear in dishes at top restaurants and hotels.

The quality of day boat catches is truly stunning, so it would be a real shame to lose such important and unique contributors to the Cornish economy.