The South West Handline Fishermen’s Association represents over 150 handline fishermen in SW England.
We are a group of fishermen who are passionate about the fish we catch and how we catch it and have developed this website and tagging scheme to provide guaranteed ‘hook to plate’ traceability. This site can be used by anyone in the supply chain from wholesaler to restaurateur to see who caught their bass.
Fishermen from the South West have been hand-lining for mackerel, pollack and bass for over 40 years - providing a vital source of income for many inshore fishermen.
Unfortunately, in recent years imports of farmed bass and worries about the sustainability of pair-trawl caught bass has badly affected the prices the line fishermen receive for their catch.
We hope you enjoy using the site and find it helpful – if you would like to make any comments or suggestions please go to our contact section.
South West Handline Fishermen's Association
Response to statement made by the Marine Conservation Society on the sustainability of the mackerel fishery.
"The problem raised by the Marine Conservation Society is due to Iceland and the Faeroe Islands catching more mackerel than the amount agreed with the EU and Norway. This has pushed the annual catch of the vessels fishing for mackerel in the North East Atlantic beyond the amount recommended by scientists. Most of the mackerel is caught by large trawlers fishing off the North Scottish coast and further North. These vessels are capable of catching several hundred tonnes per night.
In contrast most of the mackerel caught in the South West is taken by small vessels fishing with handlines. This is a highly sustainable method of catching fish and causes absolutely no danger to the stocks.
Further to this, the South West Handline fleet has a quota of 0.83% of the total UK quota for mackerel or 1,750 tonnes, whichever is the higher. An average day's catch for a handline vessel is 100 to 200 kgs. Fuel consumption is often as low as a few litres of diesel per day.
Purchasing handline caught mackerel will therefore have no adverse effects on the mackerel stock. People should therefore continue to buy high quality locally caught handline fish from their fishmonger. Grilled, fresh mackerel makes a delicious meal!"
David Muirhead, Secretary, South West Handline Fishermen's Association 22nd January 2013