SCILLY SHELLFISH

TRACE YOUR SHELLFISH TO WHERE IT WAS CAUGHT

Harry Legg- SC41 - The Pioneer

Your shellfish was caught by Kit and Harry Legg from their 8m (26 foot) wooden hulled boat the Pioneer.

They are the only fishermen to fish out of the most southwesterly harbour in the UK, Periglis on St Agnes, laying their pots amoungst the Western Rocks of the Isles of Scilly and around the waters of the iconic Bishop Rock Lighthouse (the tallest in the UK).

The father and son team are the current generation in a long line of sea-farers who have made a living from these waters. Using a mixture of pot types (Soft-eye, Hard-eye, Parlour and Inkwell) they catch crabs and lobsters. In order to target crawfish they use tangle nets.

Kit and Harry work closely with the Isles of Scilly IFCA on projects such as the lobster and crawfish tagging project. They also participate in the voluntary lobster V-notching scheme which uses a V cut into the tail of female lobsters to mark them as breeding stock, any lobster caught with a notch in the tail is returned straight to the sea.

Fishing for lobsters happens all over the world, the main method used is trapping. Lobster pots (also know as creels in some areas) are thrown over the side of the boat (known as shooting by the fishermen). The pots sink to sea floor where sealife comes to investigate the bait inside. The design of the traps mean that large marine creatures cannot enter so no harm can be done to sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles or large species of fish, in fact this is one of the most selective forms of fishing where there is almost no harm done to any by-catch. Any crabs, lobsters or crawfish that are under the minimum landing size are returned straight to the sea having benefitted from the free meal of the fishermans bait.

The constantly changing marine environment is the ultimate master of when and where the fisherman can place their pots. Any pots left in the line of an Atlantic storm will easily be torn apart meaning lost fishing gear cannot continue to catch fish. In fact fishermen regularly see wear and tear on their gear, even when the weather is calm, they have to constantly repair it to ensure they continue to catch fish. The sea state is often too bad around the islands for the fishermen to go to check their pots, just another way that the fishery is self policing.