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There’s something fishy going on in Cornwall!!!

John Willcox-Jones
23rd October 2020

From our Falmouth office…….

When lockdown started in March many fishermen lost most of their traditional market overnight with the closure of restaurants and the reduction in business for the food service sector with the closure of offices and factories. Prime catch was selling from the boats for a tiny fraction of its usual market rate.

In desperation rather than as a strategic plan some started selling their catch direct to friends and other local retail customers.  Soon this was adopted by large fish wholesalers who had the same problem but on a much larger scale.

The ability to reach domestic customers nationally through the internet and the capability to also freeze and distribute rapidly throughout the UK has meant that the higher margins available have gone some way to offsetting lower overall sales volumes.

Having created this market it is likely that it will remain a significant part of operations even when life settles to the ‘new normal’. Some businesses have even decided to shift their focus entirely and base their future business around e-commerce and selling direct to consumer. The greater margins and longer lead times between order and delivery are just too attractive to ignore.

Fishing, as one of the toughest and riskiest occupations of all, is used to overcoming adversity.  This resolve is to be tested once again as we head towards winter with the 2020 tourist trade having been largely absent for the summer (‘don’t come’ belatedly changing to ‘please come’) and the fear that future UK fishing rights and protections have become a bargaining chip that may be traded to achieve an overall BREXIT agreement with the EU.

‘God’s Country’ is fantastic – but it sure has its challenges!!!


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