Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inshore fishing, Hornsea

click photos to enlarge
The inshore fishing industry of England's Holderness coast, an expanse that stretches from Flamborough Head in the north to Spurn Point in the south, has changed out of all recognition down the centuries. In the middle ages the summer fishing was centred on herrings, but by the eighteenth century it was a selection of whitefish - cod, haddock, ling, skate and halibut - that were hunted using lines baited with shellfish. Herring continued to be caught, and were sold salted, or were smoked to produce kippers. Crab and lobsters also formed part of the regular catches by the small boats that went out from the coast's towns and villages.

However, the development of larger, powered trawlers meant that by the twentieth century over-fishing had so reduced the whitefish stocks of the North Sea that a change of emphasis was necessary, and today the small inshore fleet specialises mainly in brown crabs and lobsters, with a very few flatfish and cod being caught. And small the fleet is, the number of boats/men/pots being as follows: Bridlington 42/97/33,750, Hornsea 7/14/4,440, Tunstall 2/4/250, Withernsea 9/18/4,850, Easington 2/4/1,100, Spurn Point 1/2/500.

On my recent brief visit I saw the reltively new compound and buildings at Hornsea where the seven inshore boats are based, and watched as one was recovered from the sea by its tractor. I grabbed a few quick photographs of these developments that had grown up since the time, twenty five years and more ago, when I regularly visited this coast. Looking at the crew bringing their boat in on a bright and relatively warm March day, the prospect of fishing the coastal fringe of the North Sea appears to have its attractions, but on a cold, grey, gale-swept January day I'm sure it would be decidedly less alluring.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On