Responsible Sourcing

Responsible sourcing and sustainability are contentious issues and not just for the fishing industry. Everyone has different views, and decisions on quotas, marine conservation zones or marine protected areas can be as much about politics as ensuring that all species flourish for generations to come.

Brixham has a strong fishing heritage and local fishermen are keen to leave behind a legacy for their children and grandchildren who want to continue the family tradition. Brixham fishermen work closely with scientists and fishing leaders to make sure this happens.

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Our Brixham Fishermen

Brixham fishermen have been at the forefront of introducing new ideas to help improve fish stocks by ensuring that smaller fish escape from the nets. These methods prevent smaller fish being landed and discarded because they are either too small or there is no available market to sell them.

Legally fishermen can use a 80mm mesh at the cod end of the net but most Brixham fishermen fish with 100mm cod ends. This might not sound like a great deal of difference but introducing this larger mesh allows a high percentage of the smaller fish to escape the trawl by swimming straight through.

Many fishermen design their own trawl nets and one local fisherman won a national prize for changing the normal diamond shaped mesh panels of the net, that close as the weight of the net increases, to a square panel in the lower part of the trawl that keeps open and allows the smaller fish to escape the net. This idea has been picked up and introduced by fishermen in other countries.

Ongoing Data Insights

The team at Brixham Trawler Agents Ltd also work with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) who visit Brixham on a weekly basis to carry out analysis of the fish caught, check their weight, take measurements and determine their growth rates. They also have access to all of the data from our fish grading machines that they can use to provide comparison measurements over time. The output of this continual monitoring gives an insight into fish stocks and is fed into the process to determine fish quotas.

The evidence seems to show that these ideas are working as over the last few years Brixham fishermen have seen a steady increase in their quota for sole and plaice, some of the most important fish species for the local economy.

Further information on sustainability can be found on the sustainable seafood website.

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"The Brixham fishing industry will continue to do all it can to ensure that fish stocks flourish and the local fishing tradition continues for the future generations of fishermen to come."

Barry Young – Managing Director BTA

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