Shore fishermen serve up a seaside feast in Bridlington
PUBLISHED: 09:46 18 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:46 18 August 2014
You don't get fresher fish than that caught on the seashore,as Annie Stirk, our food and drink consultant, discovers
‘Fishing is in my blood,’ says Andrew Sanderson. ‘My father fished, my grandfather fished and his father before him, and I love being my own boss and being outdoors.’
But Andrew no longer makes his living as a trawler man. Today he is one of a handful of shore fishermen in Yorkshire with a beach net license who is able to make a living fishing in a way that goes back hundreds of years.
‘People have always fished on the beach and back then they would have collected the fish with baskets instead of nets,’ says Andrew. ‘Now, consumers are calling for that kind of freshness again – they don’t want fish from Norway or some far-flung country, they want it from their own coastline and we can provide that. It’s as local as it comes.’
Andrew and his wife Karen run Ocean Rewards fishmongers in Bridlington and when he needs more stock Andrew goes down to Barmston Beach and catches the fish himself. His shoreline catch goes straight into an ice-box and is taken back to his wife Karen, who prepares it for sale.
On the sunny July day I joined him, there was an abundance of sleek and shiny sea trout, red mullet and sea bass in the nets. Sea bass has only recently become a predominant catch for Andrew. ‘Last year, I had massive catches of sea bass, sometimes 100 a day,’ he says. And while he’s licensed to fish 400 yards out, it’s rare for him to go beyond 250 yards.
‘The tides don’t go out that far so it’s hard to reach that area, plus there’s only me fishing the nets so there’s only so much I can do on my own.’ It’s a solitary job but faithful companion, Sandy, an aging white Labrador keeps him company. ‘She’s getting on now at 14, but when she was younger she used to swim out and grab the fish by the head and bring them into the shore, laying them down carefully on the beach for me,’ says Andrew.
But loneliness and changing tides are not the only challenges that face Andrew and other shore fishermen like him. It’s a tradition that’s under threat from other quarters. New Environment Agency regulations state shore fishermen must stay with their gear for 24 hours so that nothing gets caught in the nets that shouldn’t.
‘I already check my nets regularly for birds or other species that might be caught,’ says Andrew. ‘These new rules are going to be pretty much unworkable as it’s near impossible to check the nets 24 hours a day as a one-man operation. We’re continuing to talk to them about adapting the rules at a local level.’
Andrew and Karen Sanderson
Ocean Rewards, 64 Hilderthorpe Road
Bridlington, East Yorkshire
07716 120 462, 07986 530 744