In the July edition of the Waitrose customer magazine there is an article on crab fishing at Newlyn. A family business Seafood & Eat It based at Newlyn supply Waitrose with crab products and have done so for 10 years. The day starts early for them as at 5am as they prepare to head out in their crabbing vessel Their crab pots lay on the sea bed 8 miles out to sea and they have 11 strings with 50 pots attached to each. Each day (subject to the weather) the pots are emptied out and are rebaited with dogfish and skate. In full season they catch 20 crab per pot
The pots are an environmentally friendly way of fishing as there is no destructive trawling of the seabed and they do not affect the marine environment. Pregnant and smaller crabs are always returned to the sea which is good to hear. The crabs they catch are mostly Cancer Pagurus or more commonly known as brown or edible crab (see picture above).
Crabs thrive in the Cornish waters as there is a great combination of rocks and sands. Mega coastal tides (as mentioned in last week’s blog) keep the water clean and crystal clear in Cornwall which apparently means the flavour of the local brown crab is fresh and delicate.
The crab meat is all carefully hand picked in the family factory. Around 30 staff get through up to 8000 crabs per day in peak season. That is impressive. This is their website https://seafoodandeatit.co.uk/about-us/
Crab is apparently high in protein (higher in the white crab meat) and omega 3 fatty acids (higher in the brown crab meat), low in fat (that is mostly unsaturated fat), and packed with iodine, selenium, phosphrous, zinc, B2 Riboflavin and copper. So as well as being a very tasty food it is also a very healthy food. Another big plus it is a low risk seafood for mercury. Cab must be fresh and should be kept cold or frozen if it is not eaten immediately.
There are two reasons to avoid crab. Firstly if you are on a sodium restricted diet or struggle with high blood pressure as that crab is one of the few foods that is naturally high in sodium. Secondly if you suffer from gout as Crab also contains moderately large amounts of purines.
Since 1908, Newlyn Harbour has been home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the country which I did not realise and is thus both economically and culturally important to Cornwall. There are approximately 700 vessels including beam trawlers, long liners. Crabbers and day boats operating hand lines and 1,200 fishermen. The fresh fish sales are about £20m per annum and include a diverse range of fresh fish: up to 40 different species in one day.
But it is not also fish that is caught and brought into Newlyn port. A Border Force boat escorted a yacht into the harbour last week in the early hours of Friday 20th July. They arrested two men on suspicion of drug smuggling and then the next morning the port was put into lock-down as a suspicious package was discovered aboard the yacht and the bomb squad called. I saw this on http://blog.through-the-gaps.co.uk/ but I don’t know what has happened since.
This is a Border Force boat that moored up not far outside Church Cove when we were down at the Cellars https://www.churchcove.co.ukone time which created a lot of excitement. A dingy brought a man and his bike which was not the easiest thing to unload! He was going to cycle to Bass Point to the National Coastwatch Institution to catch up with them. We told him it would be quicker to walk there so he left his bike with us! Before he did we had a quick chat with him and he told us he had been seconded from the Navy to Border Force.
Anyway back to Newlyn, it is apparently worth rising early to visit the bustling fish market and to see the fish being sold. Most of the fish are sold to buyers from overseas, especially France, Spain and Portugal. Something to add to my ‘to visit’ list! Also the Newlyn Fish Festival is held on August Bank Holiday Monday each year, when stalls and cafés take over the quays for the day which would also be good to go to.