Fishing for the future

Fishing for the future

(C) Fredrick Ohlander, unsplash

Our work to help sustainable fishing along the Yorkshire coast.

If I asked you to name a seafood capital of England; Cornwall, Devon or even Cromer might immediately spring to mind, but did you know that Yorkshire has the largest Lobster and Brown Crab fishery in Europe, exporting catches throughout the world. 

Over 3,000 tonnes of shellfish are landed into our main ports at Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby, supporting a vibrant fishing community. But with British palates limited for seafood, the majority of this premium catch is exported abroad, sent live in lorries to the European continent, ending up on tables in Spain and France, and occasionally as far away as China and Korea. 

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has been working for a number of years to promote ‘Living Seas’, including our fisheries, marine life, habitats and coastal communities. Fisheries and the local fishing community are a key part of this work where we have developed longterm partnerships and focussed our fisheries programme across a range of areas.


The Trust has worked with a number of individual fishermen and business to assist with branding and promotion of the best of our local seafood. In Autumn 2018 we are launching a new ‘Signature Seafood’ project, where we have commissioned current Seafish Ambassador and former Seafood Chef of the Year, Rob Green, to create and showcase of the best of Yorkshire seafood. ‘Withernsea whiting’, ‘Whitby crab cakes’, ‘Yorkshire lobster’, we’re hoping to support more local restaurants and help them buy catch from our fleets, promoting outlets that sell local catches and making it easier for you to find them.     

Fish dish

Handlined Whitby Mackerel.

Credit Rob Green, for YWT signature seafood commission


Have you ever spent a day at sea, or worked onboard one of our local potters or trawlers? Not many of us have the opportunity, so through our Living Seas Centre at Flamborough and Discovery Centre at Spurn Point, we have developed education programmes and interpretation to tell the stories of our local fisheries. Recently we commissioned an industry specialist to document ‘a day in the life’ with a series of local fishermen who use different techniques to show how local seafood is caught.   

Diversification & Impact

A key area of work for the Living Seas team is working with and helping fishermen to catch fish. From funding new equipment to surveying with fishermen at sea, the team focus on new and innovative methods to help fishermen. So far in 2018 we’ve funded a range of new fishing gears aiming to access new fisheries, reduce bycatch, improve quality and reduce waste.

Lobster catch

(c) Mike Bowan


Fishing is recognised as the most dangerous occupation in the world, where UK fishermen have a 1 in 14 chance of dying during their careers.   As a highly physical and often repetitive job many fishermen experience long-term conditions and injuries. In a unique and pioneering project the Trust has secured funding from partners to commission the Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to provide targeted health checks for fishermen and the wider fishing community on the quayside up and down the Holderness coast. As fishermen work long and regularly antisocial hours this service will operate at times to suit the fleet and also be able to provide referrals to wider NHS services.  


(c) Mike Bowan