Methods of Fishing
We use targeted fishing methods to ensure that we catch only what we want to catch without any bycatch. For example we catch our lobsters & crabs in 'pots' which tend not to attract anything other than shellfish. Any shellfish that are undersize simply have free bed & breakfast for the night before being returned to the sea the next day.
All of our mackerel & pollock are caught via hand lines that are specifically rigged to target these species only, ensuring zero bycatch.
Checking lobsters to see if they are 'size'
All lobsters landed in Scilly has to have a minimum carapace size of 90mm, 3mm bigger than the national average. whilst all berried female lobsters are returned to the sea to spawn, replenishing stocks for future years.
Measures such as these have helped to ensure that the stocks of lobsters & crabs around Scillonian waters have remained strong. Mike, the skipper of the Emerald Dawn has kept a log of every days catch since 1972, In his view lobster stocks have remained pretty much stable and indeed have rallied over the last few years
Mark tagging & collecting data on a juvenile Crawfish
Along with other Scillonian fisherman Island Fish has supported a programme of tagging undersized lobsters & crawfish in order to help better understand their movements and learn more about the current state of the species. Like berried lobsters all berried crawfish are released back into the sea.
In recent years as part of a joint partnership with the Isles of Scilly Inshore Conservation Agency both Mike and Mark tag, release and record data relating to sex, location caught and location released of all undersized crawfish and all female berried crawfish. This study will provide one of the most complete pictures of the movement of UK Crawfish.
The team at Island Fish have committed to picking up litter from the beaches of Bryher at least once a month, It must be said that this is no great hardship as every member of the family regularly scours the beach to see what has been washed up - only now we will be picking up all marine debris, rather than just the useful bits!
In an effort to reduce the volume of plastic that makes its way into the sea in the first instance Island Fish has stopped selling plastic water bottles and has instead committed to refilling water bottles upon request.
Island Fish has also taken the lead on the annual island wide beach clean which takes place every year just before the start of the season - just about everyone on the island joins in making this a real community event The date of the 2020 Great Spring Clean is the 29th March - if you are on Bryher then please come and join islanders in clearing up our beaches after the winter gales.
Some of the results of the annual Scilly Spring Clean