Our Fishermen

Meet some of the fishermen catching our 'Magnificent Seven of Sustainable Seafood' - crab, megrim, plaice, coley, mackerel, hake and gurnard.

Tony Delahunty

Tony Delahunty

Chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO)

Tony is a West Sussex based fisherman who was appointed as Chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) in May 2014. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the fishing industry, and is also Chairman of the NFFO’s South East Committee.

He is both owner and skipper of an under 10 metre fishing vessel, operating out of Selsey, predominantly targeting whitefish and shellfish, such as crab. His current boat, the Robert Louise, is manned by himself, his son, and one other crew member. Tony is committed to safeguarding the future of the fishing industry and is keen on utilising sustainable methods, such as escape hatches on the lobster and crabs pots, which allow immature shellfish to escape.

Europe lands 40,000 tonnes of brown crab every year. The market share of crab sourced from UK waters is estimated at 50 per cent, however, much of this is exported to France and Spain. Half the UK population eat seafood at least once a week with the top three choices being cod, haddock, and salmon. Tony believes in the importance of diversifying with alternative local produce, such as crab, which could provide a healthy and sustainable food source.

    James Chown

    James Chown

    Coley fisherman

    James has been a fisherman for 25 years, having followed his father and grandfather into the industry. He owns and skippers the Harvest Reaper, a 17m gillnetter that fishes out of Newlyn catching pollock, ling, hake and of course coley. For four months of the year the Reaper also targets monkfish and turbot.

    As well as James, there are four crew aboard the Harvest Reaper and they all take sustainability very seriously. Rather than using the minimum mesh size of 120mm, James and the crew voluntarily use 140mm. This allows juvenile fish to escape and breed, thereby securing the future of the fish stock. It also has the added bonus of catching larger, more valuable fish.

    With the correct management, James sees a positive future for the UK fishing industry and says he’s never seen so much fish at sea, particularly species like hake, plaice and coley.

    James is a board member on The Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, acting as a representative for fishermen in the area. On top of this he is also a volunteer lifeboatman at the Padstow lifeboat station.

      Arnold Locker

      Arnold Locker

      Whitefish fisherman

      Arnold is a fourth generation fisherman based in Whitby. He has over 40 years’ experience of commercial fishing in the North Sea and is co-owner and chairman of Lockers Trawlers, which now trawls haddock predominantly, after taking the decision to actively avoid cod to support its recovery.

      Arnold was among the first fishermen to join scientific missions to collect accurate data to compare catch rates with different gear. Since 2002, Lockers Trawlers has trialled avoidance techniques including smaller net and mesh sizes, and now operates with a bycatch rate of less than one per cent, verified by onboard CCTV under the Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF) scheme.

      He is a previous Chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and continues to take an active role in representing the UK fishing industry.

        Tom McClure

        Tom McClure

        Megrim and gurnard fisherman

        Tom has been a fisherman for 32 years, catching a whole host of species including megrim, gurnard, lemon sole, John Dory, squid and monkfish. His vessel, the Harvest Reaper, is a 12m trawler and operates with a crew of two.

        Like all British fishermen, Tom takes sustainability very seriously. He chooses to use a mesh size in excess of 100mm in the cod end of his nets, over 20mm larger than the legal minimum. This is because he wants to let the smaller, juvenile fish escape. In addition Tom and his crew have also taken the decision to stop fishing at night because of the high abundances of small Haddock they found they were catching. Given the limited quota availability of Haddock and it is essential to ensure the best use of quota both for the sustainability of the stocks and the economic sustainability of the fishing business. They now fish exclusively in the hours of daylight.

        Asked why the British public stick to the seafood staples of cod, haddock and salmon, Tom says he believes it’s down to a lack of awareness. Most of the megrim he catches is exported to Spain and France, but in Britain hardly anyone has even heard of it.

          Andrew Pascoe

          Andrew Pascoe

          Hake fisherman

          Andrew has been a fisherman for 30 years, having joined the family business full time aged just 15, becoming the third generation Pascoe to make his living from the sea. He now runs two boats, the 12m Lamorna and the 18m netter Ajax.

          The Ajax fishes for hake and white fish in the North Atlantic and lands its catch into Newlyn and Brixham. It has a crew of five and is usually at sea for between seven and ten days. The Ajax takes sustainability very seriously and has chosen to use a larger mesh size than the required minimum so that it is more selective with the hake it catches. Thanks to the Ajax and the rest of the hake catching fleet, Cornish hake received Marine Stewardship Council certification earlier this year, becoming the only hake fishery in the UK to earn this badge of sustainability.

          Of the 12,000 tonnes of hake landed into the UK in 2013, just 1.5 per cent was consumed here with much of it exported to Spain. Andrew thinks it’s a shame more Brits don’t try hake as it is a “delicious fish”, similar to cod and haddock. Despite most of the hake landed here being exported, over the last 18 months Andrew has noticed more of his hake catch is being consumed in the UK and he hopes this trend can continue.