Covid-19 has 'pretty tough' impact on South West fishing

BBC Radio Devon

Newlyn harbour

Covid-19 is having a significant impact and been "pretty tough" on the fishing industry in the South West, producers have said.

Normally across the ports of Newlyn (pictured) in Cornwall, and Plymouth and Brixham in Devon, more than £110m-worth of fish is landed every year. However, since the pandemic, the sector has been said to be brought to the brink of collapse.

Jim Portus, from the South Western Fish Producers’ Association, said 2020 would be a "memorable year for all the wrong reasons".

He added "awful storms" in January and February badly affected catches before the Covid-19 lockdown began in March.

He also said crab sales from Devon fishing vessels and producers had been mostly sold to China in recent years, but that came to a "complete stop" when China went into lockdown.

With lockdown itself, only certain vessels were allowed to keep operating, but they saw massive price falls, he added.

The only vessels that carried on fishing were the beam trawlers, who were able to sell their product into places like Holland and Belgium - but at much lower prices than would normally have been expected. That's because everybody's restaurants were shut down; not just in the UK, but all over Europe and, indeed, the world. So it's been pretty tough for the fishing industry."

Jim PortusSouth Western Fish Producers’ Association

No self-isolation for fishermen after landing catches

Fishing boats

Bailiwick fishing crews do not have to self-isolate for 14 days after landing their catch in the UK, France or Jersey, the States has confirmed.

Guernsey Ports has approved 25 applications fishing boats from Guernsey and Alderney to do so.

The crews do not have to quarantine themselves after selling their catch because they do "not leave their vessels or have any physical contact with those ashore", the States said.

The government described the two week self-isolation period as a "key measure in protecting the community", but exceptions could me made on a "case-by-case basis" to protect "critical" industries.

All exemptions must be approved by the director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, and those operating will have to follow some restrictions, the States added.

Fish prices 'showing signs of improvement'

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall's fishermen say there is some light at the end of the tunnel after it was feared their industry would be decimated by the lockdown.

As restaurants, cafes and the tourist trade disappeared overnight many worried about how they would make a living.

However, some like Dan Hunkin, the skipper of Keltic Dawn based in Mevagissey, have said they are making steady progress again.


Mr Hunkin said the price of fish had now started to "slowly creep up".

He said: "Last week we had a reasonably good trip aboard but the fish still didn't make the best money but it is showing signs of improvement."