Mid-July saw several Cornish sardine fleet skippers make exploratory trips into Mount’s Bay. Aboard the ring-netter Lyonesse, Skipper Will Treneer was keen to pick up some early marks. Crew Tom Lambourn and Treeve Perry let go the ropes just after 9pm on 12 July, and the boat headed out through the Gaps and down the western shore towards Mousehole.

As a rule, sardines move away from the bottom as high water approaches. After searching for four hours, a small mark on clean ground saw the crew mustered to shoot just before 1am, and the first few hundred kilos of shining sardine were brailed aboard.

That night, two other boats, the Pelagic Marksman and the Mayflower, also tried their luck, with limited success.

Encouraged by signs of good marks across Mount’s Bay, the next few days saw the same boats head back out, and more profitable shots were taken by all.

The bulk of the sardines landed into slush-iced insulated tubs go straight to local processors like Falfish, Trelawny and Ocean Fish. Each night’s fishing also sees the boats select smaller quantities that are specially boxed for the morning auction in Newlyn to keep local restaurants and others well supplied with the very freshest fish possible.

The rest of the sardine fleet were expected to join the hunt by the end of July, providing a welcome return to regular work for skippers, crews and processors alike.

The MSC-certified fishery is managed by the Cornish Sardine Management Association, which is a partnership between the owners of the 15 fishing vessels and four local seafood processors.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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