A Brief on Fishing in Cornwall


The Cornish Fish Producer’s Organization prides itself in Cornwall’s fishing past, but what does this past look like? The fishery in Cornwall can be traced all the way back until the reign of King John and by the time of the Tudor Dynasty, it was considered of national importance from the sheer amount of economic capital it generated for the country.

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Here a few interesting facts on Cornwall’s interesting fishery culture.

• There were two main fishing methods in the 1600’s sening and drifting.

• Seining involves a fishnet known as a sein that is hung vertically in the water to trap any fish swimming through. Fishermen who use this technique are called seiners.

• Drifting comes from the notion that the boat “drifts” along with the water current and wind movements as you sit in it with bait on your fishing rod.

• Cornwall has a tradition of celebrating their fishing industry through festivals like the Falmouth Oyster Festival and the Newlyn Fish festival.

• Clifftop lookouts would shout “Hevva!” at boats when they were close to pilchard shoals. It is said that these lookouts gave the name to Hevva cakes, the fair the ate upon return from lookout duty.

And there’s our list of interesting facts about Cornwall’s rich and fascinating history and culture of fishing. We hope this list gave you an appreciation of Cornish fisheries and the heritage, culture, and history behind it all.

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