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Life at Newlyn Harbour

What is Trawler Fishing?

Over 500 years ago, those in search of pilchards established Newlyn Harbour as a bustling fishing port, the backbone of the Cornish fishing industry at that time. As times and demands have changed, the harbour and its hard working fisherman have adapted their fleets and fishing styles to bring in the diverse range of fresh fish that can be seen at the fish market each morning.

Trawler fishing is a traditional method which began as far back as the 17th century. The wooden ‘Dogger’ boats of those days are barely comparable to the powerful and robust trawlers that operate today, but the basic idea of towing a large net behind the boat remains the same. These large nets allow a wide range of fish to be caught quickly and efficiently, whilst allowing smaller fish to escape in order to sustain fish populations in the water.

Today, trawlers are designed to battle the elements and the roughest of seas, which they very often face, and are fitted with extensive navigation systems and a whole host of technology. They play a key role in bringing in up to 40 species of fresh fish, which is landed in the harbour each day, with an astonishing 90% of Megrim and 70% of Monkfish landed in Cornwall coming in via trawlers to Newlyn Harbour.

Trawler fishing is an integral part of fishing in Newlyn Harbour, with its location and facilities granting easy access to fish from the rich waters off the Cornish coast. Many of vessels that operate from the harbour use this method to land their catch, bringing in fish including Dover Sole and Lemon Sole. These fresh and delicious fish head out from Newlyn Fish Market to a whole host of restaurants in Cornwall and beyond.