Project Aim: Right On Fish is a commercial fisherman dedicated to Sustainable Fishing, committed to the Marine Environment, the Planet and the Future. Its a UK South West fishing community from the under 10m fishing fleet. Fisherman / Fishers are critical workers and wish to sell ethical fish direct to the UK community.
The aim is a social enterprise to connect fishers direct to other UK communities, the public, fish markets, restaurateurs and fish lovers. With the freshest fish and shell fish, best quality achievable, with the shortest delivery time direct from an under 10m fisher with complete traceability. Right On Fish aim is to bridge this gap and make it possible.
The aim is to allow communities around the UK direct access to the fisher - prior to this Covid pandemic year, this was a difficult gap to cross with many obstacles, barriers and many individuals, private and government organisations in the middle.
These previous difficulties in the fish supply chain increases the time from sea to platter, the fisher community gets a very low price, the lengthy string of events and formalities puts up prices for the end consumer, the quality of the fish goes down, and you loose traceability from the origin.
How many fish consumers know who the fisher was who caught the fish? What boat? Where the fish was caught? How it was caught and when? I'm guessing as a fisher practically none.
Motivation, the Dream, the Positive and the Future: During the Covid pandemic and the collapse of fish markets in the UK and Europe. The small scale fisher have had to review how we operate.
During this Covid pandemic, the government class fisherman as critical workers - and yes we have continued to attempt to operate and fish through the crisis - but where do we sell the fish and when we can, we are getting offered a very low price. The fish price has gone down and hit the lowest for the fisherman. But the fish traders and fish supply chains have kept their prices the same or higher to the end customer, just check out a fish monger or fish shop!
As a fisherman, have found this year difficult and challenging. Having to adapt to the constraint on the industry and changing future.
Direct Selling: A big positive change for the small scale fishing community during this pandemic has been the allowance by the government for the fisher to direct sell to the public. Yes we can now sell direct off the boats to the public, like it was at the beginning and should have always been :).
To ensure a positive future, Fishers will have to remodel their business with a wider range of markets and selling. Right On Fish are looking at embracing this as a positive for the future:
- Sell direct from our own boat / s off the quay and from a hub to the consumer, public, restaurateurs and fish lover - It doesn't get more real than that. How it should have always been :). We are approachable :)
- A static hub (40ft processing container) where we can process fish hygienically and dispatch fish. Direct to your door. We aim to get fish direct to you in 48 hours.
- A mobile hub (20ft processing container on a flat bed truck) for processing fish hygienically and dispatch fish. This we can move to where we are landing fish and fishing. As we fish sustainably and seasonally, we can move around in the South West depending on the fish movements, species and fishing. It allows us to process the fish and also allow us to take a processing hub to our customers / farmers markets / events.
- Refrigerated van for deliveries. As a fisher, can then deliver direct to a door.
- Day boats of the under 10m fishing fleet provide the highest quality of fresh fish. Sometimes fishing in the morning, the fish can be only a few hours old.
- The small scale under 10m fleet fisher will get a fair price for fish and the customer will get a realistic price.
- Encourage the UK communities to value UK fish, have top quality fish at a realistic price, so fish returns back into the normal staple diet.
- All fish and shell fish will be traceable directly to the fisher and boat. You can follow your fisher through normal social media and personally.
- All methods and fishing gear will be by sustainable methods.
- As recognised sustainable methods are used, you can rest assured that impact to the marine environment is minimalised.
- Lets make this a personalised connection with your fisher and boat.
- As well as raising some funds, it is hoped raising this project will bring awareness of the small scale fisher and the UK under 10m fleet. But more positively, hopefully, connect direct with the UK community, with some possible customers, with consumers and fish lovers, that historically we would not have been able to connect with or reach out to, from the quay.
Right on Fish?
Right On Fish is the idea founded by Phil. Phil is a Commercial Fisherman dedicated to Sustainable Fishing, committed to the Marine Environment, the Planet and the Future.
A commercial under 16.5m commercial fishing skipper with a background as a Hydrographic Surveyor, Ocean Scientist and Engineer. Passionate about the marine environment and maritime industry. 20 years experience in the maritime and marine industry on various vessels and projects in the UK, North Sea and worldwide.
As a consumer, customer, public, fish lover, restaurateur, chef, pub, fish market, fish shop, fish monger, or just interested you can connect direct to the under 10m fisher through Right On Fish. Follow your fisher, lets make this a personal community, communicating directly.
If you are a commercial customer and wish to buy our fish, but do not have a buyer seller licence we can point you in the right direction for your application. Its free.
Below: Now that is a prime fish - Turbot (note: the table has monkfish on)
How we will operate
In the past under 10m fishers strictly stuck to the coves and bays. The seas and environment are changing. How we fish sustainably needs to change. We will fish seasonally, follow the species and availability, move around the Cornwall and Devon coast. Fish some areas and leave others to regenerate. Fish are seasonal, there's not always fish in that cove or bay for various reasons. Sometimes areas are not productive or have fish, the advances in technology have shown us this.
You can not click your fingers and have Cod. We will fish the local species, introducing these back to the community. These previously went straight to Europe or high end restaurants with no availability to the normal UK community, everyday public or fish lover.
With our own licence, boat, fishing equipment and sustainable methods, processing hub, packaging facility and a refrigerated van this will allow us to move around, land where we want. We will not be limited to only a couple of places to land and fish. This will really provide the great species the UK and South West coast has to offer.
Traditional meets new - To survive we have to move forward. We are aiming to bring the modern day to our boats. You will be able to communicate directly with the fisher on the boat. See how its caught, what's available before we even get to land. Modern day Technology has provided us with the key to do this. Our boat will be online: Follow, Message, Talk, live stream.
The Hub - Our fisher will be able to process the fish themselves and package. Fisher will be responsible for the fish right to delivery and door. :)
Quality of Fish and Shellfish - Once caught and brought onto our boat: Our fish is dispatched quickly and humanely, cleaned and bleed directly and put instantly on slushy ice whilst at sea. Slushy ice is used, which is a mix of ice and water, as it brings the temperature of the fish down quicker to a cool temperature, preserving the quality of the fish better. When landed the fish is put on normal ice and in a refrigerated environment. Day boats of the under 10m fishing fleet provide the highest quality of fresh fish.
Delivery - We aim to get the fish to you on the same day or next day. With our own van the fisher can deliver direct - Even if we have to deliver to London. Have your fisher deliver.
Target Species initially we will be focusing on:
Shrimp / Prawns
White fish including: Bass, Pollack, Mackerel, John Dory, Gunnard, Red Mullet, Silver Mullet (Grey), Whiting
Flat fish: Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Plaice, Turbot, Megrim. Skate
How we sustainably catch fish and protect the marine environment
Great seafood and seafood cooking is to buy the best fish in season. Seasonal fish means the fish are abundant and good quality. Its the way to sustain healthy fish stocks. And for the consumer can be cheaper to buy.
We will fish seasonally, follow the species and availability, move around the Cornwall and Devon coast. Fish some areas and leave others to regenerate. The best Fish are seasonal.
• Improve the Health of South West Fish Stocks
• Reduce Environmental Impact
• Support Local Fishing Industry
• Use Sustainable Fishing Methods
Traceability: You will be able to trace your fish direct to the fisher and boat. With information on who caught the fish, the boat, how it is caught / method and where. This can only be good for the UK community and the end consumer, giving the community and consumer knowledge of the fish / shellfish, the choice to also contribute to sustainable fishing in the South West, UK.
V Notch Female Berry lobster - We actively participate in the national V Notch scheme to sustainable fish and preserve the lobster stock. It involves V notch the tale of female berry (eggs) lobster, making it illegal to land. In addition we also V notch some of the larger lobster. This allows the fish to breed and contribute the stock of lobster and the environment of the area.
See: NIFCA national V notch lobster scheme
National lobster hatchery V notching
Assist the National Lobster Hatchery with deploying lobster: Where we can and when required, we wish to assist the National lobster hatcher with any services we can contribute to, including deployment and distribution of lobster back to the natural habitat and environment.
See: National Lobster Hatchery
Electronic sonar emitters: We will review sonar emitters and invest actively where appropriate. These devices send out a warning sound audible to citation dolphins, alerting them that there are fishing nets in the area. Such technology has proved to be very efficient in preventing dolphin by-catch.
Ghost Fishing UK : Assist in anyway possible with ghost fishing UK, for removal of any seabed debris or accidently lost fishing equipment. Reporting, educating and encouraging other fisherman to assist of any items spotted that affect the marine environment.
See: Ghost fishing UK
Hook and line, and hand lining caught fish - This as it says, is fish caught by line and hook. This enables us to target prime fish and species. It is a highly sustainable method.
Potting - A form of static gear fishing. This involves putting a baited pot (trap) on the seabed which the shellfish will crawl into. Fisherman can control the amount they would like to catch by limiting or increasing their pots. We do not use long strings of pots strewn all over the sea-bed. Rather we have a more detailed and environmentally aware approach. We look at our area and seabed environment and strategically place single pots. We find the yield is sustainable, much less impact on the seabed and local environment.
Potting (lobster) pots have little by-catch, however this small by catch has a high chance of survival, as it can be quickly checked and returned to the sea. Potting does very little harm to habitats, pots will rest on a small area of the seabed for a short amount of time before being hauled back out.
Gill Netting - A form of static gear fishing. This involves putting a small net along the seabed which is vertical just above the seabed, for a short period of time (i.e. hours). There are national legal limits for minimum mesh sizes depending on target fish species, based on sustainable fish sizes. Gill nets will only target a certain size of fish, i.e. the mesh size dictates this. Small fish swim through, larger fish bounce off and many fish just swim under or over or around. In additional we actively use larger mesh size's than the recommended national minimum size, targeting larger fish adding in the sustainable stock and environment. Netting has minimum impact on the seabed only being in a small footprint, left for very short periods, and has minimum by-catch (which can be returned).
Prime Fish handling and dispatching - I wasn't sure whether to mention this or not. But it is a subject close to my heart and does affect the quality of the fish. I hate seeing fish handled and left to thrash about, you see many sport fishing just putting fish in carry bags thrashing about. This distresses me seeing this, so what's it doing to the fish! We handle our fish correctly, professionally, with the utmost respect, care and humanely.
Handling the fish correctly stops this stress of the fish, stops spike in lactic-acid production, stops muscle activity, stops respiration, stops the body temperature going up. It stops the stress and toxins entering the fish, which directly affects the quality of the fish, It assists to keep the fish fresher and a higher quality of fish. We dispatch our prime fish instantly and humanely. With our prime fish we use the iki jime method, a known Japanese method, developed some 350 years ago.
See: Andrew Tsui, president of the Ike Jime Federation
However, this all takes money. To build on this and become operational will cost in the region of £175,000.
Hopefully with your pledges we can kick start this project and dream. It doesn't take much for right on fish to get started and heading in the right direction :)
Our initial target is small as we would like to see the public support which we can then positively build on and review investment.
The more we can raise the less we would have borrow or look at investment, and the more we can concentrate on what we do...Fish sustainability as under 10m vessel fishers.
So you pledge does not have to be much, and you can get some great cool stuff in return:
From fish boxes to a trip on our boat: get your team to "sea" where and how the fish originate from and caught, go mackeral fishing, or a pleasure trip around the area we are operating at the time.
A presentation from our Fisher or our Fisher attend an event of your choice.
Even your name on the boat or logo.
If you have a cool name we can even name a boat after you.
But more importantly your connecting with your fisher and equally important is that you are demonstrating that there is a public and uk interest in connecting with the fishing community and small scale fisher.
Time line: we would like to be up and running early 2021, ready for the March lobster and potting season :)
Commercial fishing licence.
Bass fishing authorisation.
Fishing equipment - Static gear including pots, handlines, gill nets.
Electronic sonar emitters to put on nets - to warn mammals such as dolphin of nets and prevent any issues with sea mammals.
Process hub - Initially a 40ft modular container or similar - Insulated and stainless lined. Single and 3 phase electric. Drainage and water heater. Sinks, cold room and internal cooling. Processing Room.
Homarium display lobster tank.
Ziegra 125kg approx day ice machine.
Mobile process hub (20 ft modular container) with a flat bed truck - Hub fitted on back of a flat bed truck and can fit in a parking space. Easy to clean and wipe down, to keep food hygiene happy. Refrigerator container, setup as a mini fish processing area. Full IP65 electrics and plug sockets, interior and exterior lights, small extractor vent, space to put in an ice machine along with plumbing. Hand wash sink along with plumbing. Hot water unit. Chiller Traniscold (240V) with own trip switches and consumer unit. Fly killer, ice machine and sink.
Refrigerated van for deliveries.
Packaging equipment and packaging.
Will this help Socially and the Fishing Community?:
Opening up direct markets can only help the small scale fishing community. You can see who we are, we exist, see where and how we catch the fish, you can follow us and have complete confidence in the traceability of your food.
We aim to get the freshest fish to you the same or next day.
We also hope it will help your community with more affordable, high quality fish, with the realisation of where food comes from, the effort involved and appreciation of the fish.
We want it to become a more personalised event. We are real people as well as you are real customers that enjoy the fish - We just need to get connected.
Will this really help the environment?:
Yes. As small scale sustainable fishers its the most environment friendly. Our carbon footprint with small scale vessels is the lowest it can be.
Our methods have no or little impact on the seabed. And we only catch target and correct size species. No waste. By-Catch is small, but any by-catch is alive and can be returned.
A bit of blurb from Phil - Putting those thoughts and opinions out there:
The Social and Community Impact: What is an Under 10m fisher, the way of life, the decline, Where have all the fishers gone?
The under 10m fisher and fleet, is what it says and categorised by the length of the vessel. Under 10m vessels are predominately worked by one fisher (there are 2 man teams or slightly more on some vessels depending on the fishing operation).
Traditionally in Cornwall and Devon the under 10m fisher and fleet worked out of small communities, coves and beaches. Communities have seen a dramatic change in a short space of time, communities lost in the idyllic coves and beaches to the 2nd home market. Logistics and loss of communities has lead to the rapid decline of cove and beach fishing.
The under 10m fleet in the South West is still their, but more consolidated in the small fishing harbours i.e. Newlyn, Mevagissey, Looe, Plymouth. Mainly due to logistics, accessibility, ease of operation, fishers.
The under 10m fleet is declining. Its becoming less and less viable as a full time employment but there is some of us left. There are very few younger fisherman entering the fleet for various reasons. More and more increasing the under 10m fleet is becoming a part time occupation or hobby job for the older person.
A way of life - If reviewed the time spent by a full time under 10m fisher in their occupation, from onshore gear and boat maintenance to Offshore fishing including preparing, marketing and selling their fish. The hourly rate would be extremely low. It is for the fisher a job of choice, the job they love, a way of life.
Less and Less Licencing, Less and Less under 10m licenced vessels:
To fish an under 10m fishing vessel requires a government fishing Licence from the Marine Management Organisation ( MMO ) .
How do you obtain a license?
In order for the MMO to control the size of the UK’s fishing fleet no new licenses are being issued at present (and a long time in the past) so the only way to obtain a license is purchasing an existing fishing vessel license and either transferring ownership or by purchasing the vessel to which it is registered.
"No new fishing vessel licences are created and there are a limited number of licences in circulation. The only way you can get a licence is by transferring an existing one to your vessel. You need a licence entitlement to do this.
The MMO does not sell or provide these licence entitlements. Places they may be obtained include via trade media aimed at the commercial fishing industry." Source: 3 questions frequently asked about commercial fishing. Posted by: Amy Wardlaw, MMO, Posted on:8 February 2018 - Categories: fisheries
We see on a regular basis that as licences are changing hands, purchased and sold, with brokerage - it has become a business. That licences are being broken up, consolidated. Less smaller boats, less licenses.
The cost of vessels with licences and licenses have risen dramatically, putting the availability out of reach of normal fishers and fisherman.
To enter the under 10m fishing fleet its getting harder and more unrealistic for the new entrant. As there are a declining finite number of commercial fishing licences, with none issued, costs are going up. For even a very small vessels licences exchanging hands of £10's of thousands into the £100's of thousands.
Below is sourced from above:
A comment from the summary of the latest Statistics Report Oct 2020:
"The total number of fishers is around 12,000, down from around 20,000 in the mid1990s. The number of fishing vessels in the UK fleet has fallen by 32% since 1996.
The UK is a net importer of fish, with net imports of around 269,000 tonnes in 2019, worth £1.5bn "
The total number of fishers employed in the UK has fallen from just under 48,000 in 1938 to 12,043 in 2019. The chart below and table 3 in the appendix show the total number of fishers in various years since 1938. "
"2.2 Fishing Fleet
The decline in fisher employment is reflected in the declining size of the UK fishing fleet. The chart below shows trends in the fishing fleet since 1996. At the end of 2019, the number of registered vessels stood at 5,911, a 9% fall since 2009. Of these:
• 4,675 vessels (79%) are 10 metres or shorter in length, and
• 1,236 vessels (21%) are over 10 metres. "
Check out the link / PDF report below: House of Commons Library, BRIEFING PAPER Number 2788, 5 October 2020 UK Sea Fisheries Statistics
Under 10m vessel Fish Quota - What is it? Where is it?:
Currently the government set the fish quota available for the under 10m fisher. We get a monthly allocation via email or text.
It is often commented in the under 10m fishing community, rightly or wrongly that "When the government separated fish quota from fishing vessels and sold it off to the private individual or investor (common fisheries policy), the government didn't realised at the time that there were commercial fishing operations and fishers fishing off small under 10m vessels"
However the under 10m vessel fleet do not seem to get a fair amount of quota:
Link to interesting video Struggling to make a living
The quota system was adopted in 1983 by the CFP which rationed and apportioned the right to fish stocks between EEC member countries, the fish resource was effectively privatised. An interesting article, research and report is: "Greenpeace, in an Unearthed report, published 11th October 2018, has analysed the ownership of the UK’s fishing quotas." Link: Unearthed report
Statement from the report about above 10m vessel quota "
- Around 29% of UK fishing quota is directly controlled by Rich List families.
- The five largest quota-holders control more than a third of UK fishing quota
- Four of the top five belong to families on the Sunday Times Rich List
- The fifth is a Dutch multinational whose UK subsidiary – North Atlantic Fishing Company – controls around a quarter of England’s fishing quota
- Around half of England’s quota is ultimately owned by Dutch, Icelandic, or Spanish interests"
Above 10m vessels, fish quotas are privately owned, investor owned and restricted fish quotas - a difficult and closed market for any fisher wanted to fish off their own boat. Producer organisations (i.e. like the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation attempt to assist the normal everyday fisher in this minefield) Link: CFPO
Interesting video - Source: https://vimeo.com/greenpeaceunearthed