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Supporting sustainable fishers

It was recently announced that the fish market in Plymouth would be closing, and the final day

of trading took place on Friday 17th May. The fish market was run by Plymouth Trawler Agents

and had been going for almost 30 years, with auctions held every weekday that sold thousands

of tonnes of fish each year. Last week, we received an update on the news from Caroline,

founder of Sole of Discretion CIC, who are based on the Fish Quay in Plymouth.

A fishing boat departs the quay in Plymouth.
Image Credit: Sole of Discretion CIC

News of the fish market’s closure came as a shock, and will have a significant impact on the

fishers based in Plymouth. There is hope that the market will be reopened in future, but in the

meantime some larger vessels have already left Plymouth to land at Brixham instead, while the

smaller boats under 10 metres are left to find new routes to market for their catch. Some fish is

being transported by road to Newlyn, but for Sole of Discretion and other fishmongers in the city,

buying Plymouth fish from the Newlyn market would likely mean it’s at least 3 days old before it

arrives back to them.

Caroline told us “I first set up Sole of Discretion as a CIC to support the small-scale, low impact

fishers. To date, we’ve mostly relied on the fish auction where prices have been good for the

fishers. Covid presented a blip, and it was with great pleasure that we were able to buy so much

fish directly from the small boats when demand on the auction, mostly bound for restaurants

and Europe, fell off sharply, keeping their livelihoods afloat. It was in those tricky times that so

many of you discovered us, experimenting at home with new fish recipes, and the fishing

community were grateful of your support.”

“We’ve been approached by a number of fishers wanting to land directly to us, and it is our

desire to do so. Who knows, this may even be a positive for the small-scale, low impact fishers

in the longer term, but right now, it feels mildly chaotic as everyone scrambles to work out how

best to continue.”

“On top of the bleak news, prices will inevitably rise, as far fewer fish are being landed into

Plymouth and the fixed costs are being shared across lower volumes. Thank you for bearing

with us in these times, and we hope you will be part of the journey towards turning Plymouth

into a Port renowned for its superior quality day boat fish from skippers who live locally and fish

with care for their environment.”

You can read more about buying fish from small-scale boats on Sole of Discretion’s website

here, and buy their sustainably sourced frozen fish for delivery each week from the Food Hubs.


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