Latest fishing news from the Ajax

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ajax's weekend landing all set for Monday's market.


Landing over the weekend...


the Ajax gets her fish ashore...

four boxes at a time...

to the fish market...

on to a pallet...

before they go...

inside the market...

to the market cold store ready for sorting and grading.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ajax PZ36 makes her first landing in Newlyn.

First landing for the new boat!

Tied up against the fish market in Newlyn for the first time with a trip of fish on board...

it's all smiles from Tom as the new net transporter...

fleets the net down in one of the stern net pounds a job that normally takes two of the crew to carry out...

waiting to land...

the fishroom on the new boat is huge compared to the old Ajax...

and the better refrigeration means the fish is held at less than +2˚C...

and makes life easier for the fishroom man...

in the mists of time...

the first boxes come ashore...

with half the trip going by road to be landed on the market at @bazilyo market...

view from the quay over the shelterdeck...

as more boxes come ashore...

co-owner James Pascoe gets to help out landing the boat's maiden trip...

from the depths of the fishroom...

even the ships Dr, Russell from Penwith Marine Services gets to lend a steadying hand...

so that skipper Alan gets the fish safely ashore for Wednesday's market.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

She's on her way!

Having undergone some quick sea trials and gear checks, the new Ajax PZ35 left Newlyn this evening and headed west to the fishing grounds for her maiden fishing trip.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ajax set to sail today on her maiden voyage from Newlyn as a gill netter!

The new Ajax PZ36 is about to make her maiden voyage from Newlyn. She has left her berth in Penzance wet dock and made her way across the Bay to Newlyn to take ice, fuel and grub... 

She will undertake gear and boat trials today out in Mount's Bay...

so that the crew get a chance to test the new working arrangements for hauling and shooting the nets... 

before they get to the fishing grounds proper...

and check out that the new Spencer Carter N10 hauler which has just been fitted...

and the fish handling system designed to keep the Ajax's famous hake in tip-top condition...

the boat features all the latest safety equipment atop the shelterdeck...

and the wheelhouse is equipped with a much improved navigation and fish-finding electronics than the old Ajax...

even the net hauler when moved in-board is then fully covered by a hydraulically operated shelterdeck hatch.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The new Ajax PZ36 homeward bound for Newlyn

The new Ajax (ex-Kiora BF36) seen here during her conversion from stern trawler to netter in McDuff...

skipper Alan and crew are currently steamimg towards the Tuskar Rock Light...

after taking several days to negotiate the Caledonian Canal...

and a few narrow channels before heading south and home. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Alan who?

The new Ajax PZ36 almost ready for the skipper and crew to sail back to Newlyn...

a delighted @Alan_Hansen was able to wish the boys well on their way to McDuff when they met up at Glasgow airport .

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Cornish Fishermen slam quality control at Plymouth University

In the wake of an apparently damning article (double -page spread no less) that appeared in the Western Morning News (and the Daily telegraph) last week see previous coverage on this blog

Paul Trebilcock, Chief Executive of the Cornish Fish Producers has responded to the Plymouth University Report which claims that overfishing has led to the decline of Fish Stocks in the English Channel - this was the basis for the stories that appeared in the Telegraph and the Western Morning News. 

Paul Trebilcok - Cornish Fish Producers leader
 "Normally, I would have nothing to say about the quality of academic research, which is subject to its own disciplines of internal and external peer review. It is quite right and proper that academic researchers have the freedom to examine and explore any theme which is of interest to them and which they have resources to pursue.
There comes a point however when, as with the recently released report from Plymouth University, where the research in the classroom seems to wholly contradict the experience in the real world that we can only wonder at the quality controls; or that the authors are pursuing a specific political agenda by being selective with the evidence. The emotive and sensationalist language used by the University to publicise its report suggests that it is the latter. In either case this raises questions which the authorities of Plymouth University will want to address.
At the very least it appears to us that environmental advocacy has clouded and corrupted this research to the extent that the result would be laughable if it was not so serious. Of particular concern is the abandonment of the scientific method in favour of an approach which seems to me to be a selection of facts which support a chosen narrative and ignores those which don't.

No reasonable reading of current ICES scientific advice could conclude that hake is in decline or that there is a problem with haddock stocks. On the contrary the management problems we face result from the exceptionally high abundance of these two species.
But hake and haddock are two stocks chosen by the study to make the case for a general decline in demersal fish stocks. The scientific evidence points in a very different direction.

The abundance of Hake 1978 to 2013 (International Council for Exploration of the Seas)
 Similarly with haddock. Haddock populations are prone to extreme fluctuations due to environmental factors. It just so happens that we are currently facing a large increase in abundance arising from a spike in recruitment. Fishermen are just incredulous when it is suggested they are in decline. Their main challenge is in how to avoid haddock, within the context of the forthcoming discard ban.
And to suggest that Norway and Iceland have banned bottom trawling, as the University claims in its press comments is just factually incorrect. And whilst it is true that some species of skate are currently depleted, there are many other species skates and rays whose conservation status is sound.
The underlying difficulty seems to lie with a conflation and confusion of science and environmental advocacy. This should not be allowed to cloud the progress that the fishing industry has made in recent years in putting fishing on a sustainable footing.
This is the real point, which the study chooses to ignore. A turning point in European fisheries came in the year 2000 which has completely transformed the picture.

Trends in Fishing Mortality (Fishing Pressure) ICES

Trends in Fishing Mortality (Fishing Pressure) ICES 
The dramatic fall in fishing mortality from the year 2000 portrayed in this graph produced by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas, is by far the most significant development in our fisheries in the last 100 years and will be the most important factor shaping the industry’s future.
This pattern:
  • covers all of the main species groupings
  • refers to the whole of the North East Atlantic
  • shows that after something like 70 years of incremental increases in fishing mortality, fishing pressure has been drastically reduced
There are multiple causes for this radical change. For the demersal fisheries, the painful measures taken to rebuild the cod stocks will have played a central part; but landing controls, better selectivity, industry mind-set, collaboration between scientists and fishermen, long term management plans and capacity reduction, along with twenty or thirty other factors, have all contributed. Probably the most significant has been the reduction in the size of the fleets.
The Plymouth study says nothing about this as it relentlessly pursues its catastrophe narrative. Unless it is corrected it will unfairly harm the reputation of the South West’s responsible fishing industry. More to the point it risks damage to the reputation of Plymouth University."

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Discards - Invitation to attend consultation workshops - there's one in Newlyn on the 7th of May

Defra are holding a series of workshops around England to raise awareness of public consultations concerning the implementation of reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and to discuss the proposals with industry. Seafish would like to invite industry to attend these events.

The consultations cover 3 main areas:

The proposed approach to implement the pelagic landing obligation (discard ban) in England, How we can best use the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to support implementation of the reformed CFP, and How we implement changes to the Common Market Organisation (CMO) including the introduction of changes to the fish labelling legislation in England and the introduction of new legislation on marketing standards in England and Wales for fishery and aquaculture products.

George Eustice, Fisheries Minister, "The discard ban is one of the most important changes to fisheries management in the last decade. A key element to making these reforms work in practice will be continuing to work closely with all those affected."

Newlyn, Fishermen's Mission

Richard Caslake
  • Pelagic landing obligation 10.00-11.30
  • EMFF and CMO 11.45-4.15
  • Informal drop in 14.15-15.00

News from the Ajax

We left Newlyn at 6am yday steamed west on a very fine day, looking around the ground today as tide is still to strong for us. No prawn trawlers around the area we prob shoot our gear tonight for Hake before the wind freshens and start hauling some hake tomorrow midday. 

Selective fishing - pollack caught by hook and dive boards

As for today we are looking for some Pollock with hooks and dive boards. 

I will keep in touch during the trip with our hake buyers and hope to land some hake for thurs or fri on the markets depends on how fresh this weather comes on during the week Alan

Monday, 17 March 2014

The great Waitrose hake debate

Fresh and plentiful - uncertificated hake from the Newlyn gill netter Ajax - and therein lies the problem
In response to a direct question about using African hake Ela Farrell received this reply from Waitrose:

Dear Ela
Thank you for contacting us via Twitter.

I've looked into this with our fish buyer and they've advised that at Waitrose we have been working to a responsible seafood sourcing strategy for over 15 years and have made a commitment that by 2017 all our fish and seafood will be independently certified as responsibly sourced.

Waitrose recognises a number of independent Standards for wild caught fish including the Marine Stewardship Council and the Food and Agriculture Organisation based Responsible Fisheries Management. In line with our policy to only buy independently certified fish, our South African hake is from the Marine Stewardship Council fishery and is certified as sustainable.

However as one of our Waitrose Way commitments is to Champion British products selling UK Hake seems an obvious choice, especially as the stocks appear to be healthy. Should the fishery gain independent certification as being responsibly managed we will of course introduce this fish to the Waitrose assortment.
I hope this helps with your query but should you have any further questions please let me know.
Kind regards

Paul Neun
Waitrose Customer Sales and Support

This only highlights the dilemma and complexity of an industry where MSC certification has now become the holy grail and/or stick by which to beat others - getting certification is not that straightforward - and worse still, just because a fishery does not have MSC accreditation does it mean stocks are unhealthy. The same problem exists with fish line caught fish - where the customer would be led to believe that line caught fish are to be preferred to those without that label - it's just not that simple!

Supermarkets obviously feel driven to do their PR bit and say how wonderful they are to use MSC accredited fish - even if home grown fish like hake would be their preferred choice!

Maybe it would be in the supermarkets interests (as M&S did) to help fishermen achieve MSC accreditation for fish species like hake without feeling they are doing the wrong thing.

Those that fish in the south west must be hoping that MSC accreditation is forthcoming for their hake sooner rather than later - especially as they can do the maths and see that the supermarkets selling hake at £16+ a kilo is 10 times greater than the 31.60 per kilo they get on a bad market!

Waitrose and the #hake saga


I called into Waitrose at Saltash earlier they had some very nice looking Hake loin from South Africa of all places on display, the bloke on the counter reckoned it was a bargain at £15.99 a kilo when I tackled him about it.

All the hard work being done by the likes of Alan Dwan skipper of the Ajax to promote Cornish hake and outfits like Waitrose continue to stab us in the back in our own country.

The question must be asked... aren't there enough starving millions in Africa to eat their own hake? BE VERY INTERESTING TO HEAR FROM ALAN WHAT THE AJAX HAKE IS CURRENTLY MAKING.

I know the fish trade is global but flying hake 10000 miles when the finest quality hake is available in Cornwall at low prices highlights the madness of supermarket supply chains.


Follow the story here or listen to Radio Cornwall and Lawrence Reed at lunchtime.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Cod Boxes - Closed cod season in the Bristol Channel and off Ireland.

From February 1st to April 1st

The shaded boxes are closed to all boats fishing for cod - let's hope the map reading skills of cod are up to the task - the eastern-most box is around 3200 square miles of ocean closed off to cod - do they get updates from the MMO?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Ajax - fishing news

Latest news from the Ajax

An approximate position for the Ajax - she is out of AIS range at the moment.