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Brixham fisherman can't trade on quay

Thursday, 21 September 2023 15:23

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

'Eel not enjoy post-pandemic fishing byelaws (image courtesy: Tristan Northway)

Market dominated by large trawlers

A Brixham fisherman has described his ‘David and Goliath’ battle to sell his catch on the quayside as post-covid law changes leave him high and dry,

Tristan Northway, whose boat Adela is the smallest and oldest in the Brixham fleet, was able to bring fresh fish to the quay as byelaws were relaxed during the pandemic.

But now the regulations are back into force and he is driving thousands of motorway miles to sell his catch instead of selling it locally.

Mr Northway presented a 763-signature petition to the council at its full meeting, calling for a review of existing byelaws to allow him and other small-scale fishermen in Torbay harbours to sell their catch directly from their boats.

In the petition he said: “As a passionate fisherman and resident of Torbay, I have been operating my fishing boat in these waters for years.

“During this time, I have witnessed first hand the abundance of high-quality fish that our coastal region has to offer. I strongly believe that the ability to sell this fresh catch directly from my boat would provide a unique and valuable opportunity for both locals and tourists alike.”

Changing the byelaws, he said, would support small-scale fishermen who are struggling against larger commercial operations.

He told the meeting: “It would greatly benefit our community, promote our lovely town and surrounding areas, and will contribute to preserving a long-standing tradition in Brixham.

“Like many other businesses during the pandemic, I was severely affected by the drop in market prices, but I adapted my business model and managed to make it work.

“The byelaws are now being enforced again, and it is almost impossible for me to make a decent living. The market is dominated by large-scale trawlers.

“I understand the need for control and regulation, but regulation disadvantages the small boat fisherman.”

The council has accepted the petition, and one of the council’s directors will respond directly to Mr Northway.

He said he hopes the council has listened and will back his plea.


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