NEWLYN: Fishing for a Living
A photo essay depicting the fishing community in the Cornish port of Newlyn and has been supported by Arts Council England.
In the far south-west of Britain, it is one of England's largest fishing ports and home of the biggest privately owned fishing fleet in Europe. Approximately 170+ vessels of varying types and sizes use the port, with around 600+ people relying on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.
Due to the Gulf Stream supplying warmer water around this coastline, Cornwall can boast 30+ different species of fish. The harbour lands around £19 million worth of fish each year, making it one of the country's largest fishing ports in terms of fish sold, and a major centre for the distribution of high-value fish and shellfish to the Continent.
Towards the end of the c.19th, the port was movingly portrayed in the work of the celebrated Newlyn School artists, who depicted the joys and sorrows of a community that frequently faced the tragic consequences of a profession that lost many to the harsh elements of the sea.
In recent years the fishermen have been severely restricted in the amount of fish they can catch due to the harsh quotas imposed on them by the Common Fisheries Policy, which is regulated by the European Union. Millions of pounds worth of fish are wasted each year after being thrown back into the sea dead or dying, thus creating anger and tensions within an industry that is already struggling and feels that it is unfairly penalised.
Along with the escalating costs of fuel, this has led to a decline in the fishing industry with many boats being decommissioned and fishermen being forced to seek alternative employment.
Steeped in history, Newlyn has grown up around the fishing industry and, despite these current pressures, remains a strong and proud community, supplying livelihoods to many who are fiercely loyal to their profession.