According to skipper Nathan Marshall, all you need to pull in a record haul is  “experience and a little bit of intuition”, as well as fine weather, plenty of fish and the stars to align!

Luckily, Nathan enjoyed all of the above during a recent trip, where his crew – fishing on the Enterprise PZ99 – landed a spectacular 350 boxes of fish. The value of the catch, which was dominated by Dover sole (worth £16.50 per kilo), broke a new port record and was worth a whopping £87,000 – surpassing the previous port record by £11,000.

CREDIT: Laurence Hartwell

The vessel operates out of Newlyn, a mixed fishery, which hosts boats that support small scale mackerel fishing and crabbing, to 43m ships like the Enterprise. The Cornish coast is as diverse in the vessels within its fishing fleet as it is in the species they bring in, but these trawling boats are imperative during the winter as they can brace harsh conditions and stay out for weeks at a time. They are crucial in supporting the fishing communities in Cornwall at a time where the trade can be unpredictable. 

Seafood Cornwall spoke to Ian Oliver, market manager and auctioneer of Newlyn fish market, who told us that in his 35 year career he had “never seen such a volume of Dover soles landed by one boat”. The Enterprise also landed a typically mixed Cornish haul of monkfish, red mullet, plaice, brill and turbot, which added to the value of the catch and showcased Newlyn’s signature seafood variety. 

There were many smiles and an air of optimism coming off the Enterprise as it docked in Newlyn, Ian told us: “The crew were happy and hopeful but were not 100% sure if they were going to break the record or not, so they played it cool.”

Skipper Nathan later told  Radio Cornwall:  “When the stars are aligned you can do very well. All you can do is put the time in and some weeks are better than others,” he added, “it’s really nice to have the port record”.

CREDIT: Laurence Hartwell

The skippers on the Enterprise make sustainable fishing a top priority. Enterprise, nicknamed the ‘Starship Enterprise’ by the crew, is a “state of the art vessel”, according to Nathan. Not only is it kitted out with touch-screen functions and cruise control, but the vessel also makes simple but incredibly effective modifications to its fishing gear selectivity which enables the fishermen to choose the size of the fish they catch. The Enterprise net mesh size is above and beyond the regulation, which, put simply, means the trawler uses larger holes in its nets than needed, in order to ensure that juvenile (smaller) fish can escape the net and be free to grow and re-populate. This is a technique implemented by most Cornish fishermen voluntarily, as it increases the selectivity and quality of the catch and is part of the fabric of Cornwall’s inherently sustainable approach to fishing.

Ian told us that the volume of fish caught by Enterprise shows  “stocks are stable and, for some species, increasing” – demonstrating that these selective practices are working, and paying dividends for the fleet. 

CREDIT: Laurence Hartwell

On the future of the fishing industry, Ian told us that it is not fish populations declining which he fears the most, but future generations of fishermen not being in the industry to catch them.

“I believe people think that fishing is not a ‘proper’ career choice… but the fishing industry is at a stage where it’s not low fish stocks or quota that will kill the industry, it’s the lack of young blood replacing the older fishing generation”.

He added: “Just maybe the Enterprise’s achievement will show stocks are healthy, that there is good money to be made and entice some new blood into the industry.”

CREDIT: The Cornish Fishmonger

Feeling hungry? Dover sole has a mild, sweet flavour with melt-in-your-mouth flaky meat, and can be delivered straight to your door. Match with a Cornish merchant through our Merchant Matchmaker – if you live in Cornwall it will pair you with your nearest merchant or, if you don’t, it will pair you with a merchant that ships nationally! 

A whole Dover sole makes the perfect sharing meal for two, and is a real seafood treat. One of our Fish To Your Door merchants, The Cornish Fishmonger, recommends grilling this flatfish in chilli and paprika. Click here to give it a try. Alternatively, this recipe can be tried with megrim or, as we know it, Cornish sole. Cornish sole would have also been caught as part of the record catch, and it’s less of a strains on the purse-strings! 

Can’t get enough? Here’s more!

5 fishing industry insights to brighten up your day

• ‘It’s up to us’: How the MSC Cornish hake fishery is ensuring fish for the future

• 5 seafood curry recipes you have to try for National Curry Week

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