Pilchard sardines from Newlyn (United Kingdom)

Facts & Figures

Cornish sardines
20-30 fishermen
Newlyn, United Kingdom

“The harbor was my playground”

The family of sardine fisherman David Pascoe have been fishing for generations for Cornish pilchard sardines. "I became a fisherman because the harbor was my playground. My father fished, my uncle fished. I enjoyed playing around the harbor and learning. And the rest is history!" In season David eats sardines almost everyday! Either straight from the can, or fresh; grilled on the barbecue.

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Great catch

David and his colleagues fish from small purse seine boats. They lure the sardines to the surface with big lamps and then, while sailing, stretch a net around the entire school. These are also known as ring nets. When the net is pulled closed at the bottom, the sardines are trapped like in a basket in the ocean.

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Because sardines swim in compact schools, this method of fishing is very selective - the fishermen only catch sardines and the nets don't scrape the sea floor. In addition, the fish stock and total catches are monitored to ensure that enough sardines are left in the ocean.

Nocturnal adventure in Newlyn

Sundown in Newlyn marks the start of fishing for David and his crew. The fishermen set sail on Mounts' Bay, in search of the most beautiful fatty sardines! They fish in the dark with small ring nets, which requires a great amount of skill and working together. Luckily, David and his crew have been fishing for years and are not planning to retire anytime soon!

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Newlyn is all about fish. The catch is traded daily at the fish market. Promptly at 6 o'clock in the morning, the auction begins. It is done the old-fashioned way. With about twenty fish traders present, the auctioneer goes through the bins one by one. Slowly, he raises the price per kilo: two twenty, two thirty, two forty. No computers are involved. The auctioneer keeps track of everything neatly with a pencil in a small notebook.

Picturesque and charming Newlyn

Both Newlyn and its customs can best be described as “quaint”: picturesque and charming in a petit bourgeois way, a bit unusual but with old world charm. The homes of the city are built against the hills and everyone knows everyone here. Fishing is the lifeblood of the entire community, making it all the more important that it is done in an honest and sustainable way!

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Pilchard sardines

Sardines roam the open oceans in small schools, eating plankton and small crustaceans. These little oily fish are full of omega-3. Nutritious and delicious! The sardine is part of the Clupeidae family, which includes other small fish like herring and anchovies. Eat the sardines straight from the can with some bread or try out one of our delicious recipes below!