Fishing Methods & Sustainability

Ultimately catching fish using traditional methods is not only sustainable, the produce is far superior to other catch methods.


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Superior line-Caught Seafood in Cornwall from Local Day Boats


At Wild Harbour, we believe in transparency on catch method is of the utmost importance, so we hope you will find the information below both informative and helpful. We have spent a great deal of time researching best practice with the Fishing Gear Technologist from SEAFISH and as a result, Wild Harbour has hand-picked fisherman who use these methods to catch restaurant quality luxury fish and shellfish.

Hand Lines Sustainable Catch Method

Our handline fishing method is exactly what the name implies: commercial fishing with a rod or handheld lines, comparable to recreational angling. It covers a variety of fishing techniques such as jigging, bait fishing, and trolling, which are often done from a small inshore boat, usually single-handedly, though some boats may accommodate two people. They will land small quantities of fish, on a daily basis, in pristine condition.

The handline capture method is regarded as a highly selective form of fishing with minimal by catch. If there is any unwanted by-catch, it is usually able to be released to the sea alive and undamaged, resulting in nearly no discard mortality. It is pursued by small, low-powered boats that use very little fuel and have little impact on the bottom because the gear is never in contact with it. We are delighted to provide handline and rod and line seafood that provides a consistent, high-quality product to UK chefs.
Line fishing has many positive areas, and theses include:
  • Excellent selectivity of fish
  • All juvenile and unwanted species can be returned alive and unharmed
  • Discards are 0%
  • Iced immediately upon capture
  • Small Cornish day boats only
  • Part of the in-shore fleet
  • Each species is specifically targeted

Dermersal Otter Trawls Catch Method

A demersal trawl is a cone-shaped net that is towed on the seabed to target demersal fish species. The mouth of the trawl is held open by a pair of trawl doors (Otter Boards). Demersal trawling is a direct descendant of the early beam trawl, however is now far more sustainable than beam trawling.

Dermersal Otter Trawls are very different to beam trawls with the main differences being;
  • Use otter boards or doors to spread the net rather than heavy metal beams.
  • Work higher in the water, which minimises damage to the sea beds.
  • Much lighter nets worked on smaller in-shore day boats, therefore using less fuel.
  • Tow one single net behind the boat rather than two nets on either side of the boat, which is the case for beam trawls.
Our hand picked fishermen have made other significant efforts to make their methods more sustainable by:
  • Using larger mesh size – the current mandatory mesh size is 80mm, our fisherman use 100mm. This improves selectivity of juvenile fish.
  • Innovative square mesh cod end, to improve selectivity of fish.
  • Discards are less than 1%
  • Short trawls times ensure the best quality and maximize the survivability of undersize fish.
  • Iced within one hour of capture
  • Small Cornish day boats only
  • Part of the in-shore fleet
  • Using historical fishing grounds which, due to the best practice, continue to produce a sustainable fishery.
  • Good mixed fishery, no individual species is targeted and over fished.

Boats At Sea

Live data coming in! Please see below for live fishing boats who are out to sea today, the smaller boats by the shores are our day boat fishermen. The larger boats out from the shore are larger, commercial fleets. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is all your seafood sustainable?
Yes! At Wild Harbour we believe being able to source the most responsibility caught fish and shellfish is of the utmost importance, we also believe the transparency on catch method is crucial. We believe that by only catching and sourcing sustainably caught fish and shellfish, by their very nature, the fish will be of the best quality and by handling the fish onshore using our quality and fresh protocols, each fish will reach our customers in pristine condition.
What is Cornwall Good seafood guide?
We are proud to be recommended by Cornwall Good Seafood Guide. We work closely with the fantastic team to help us ensure we are sourcing fish that are in season and sustainable. For more information visit:
Is all your seafood sourced in Cornwall?
Yes! The majority of our fish is sourced on the in-shore waters of Cornwall, by small independently owned day boat fishermen. We believe that the fishing community is a crucial part of Cornwall and by supporting smaller fishermen, the catch is very sustainable and offers by far superior quality.
What methods are used to catch your fish?
All of our fish is sustainably caught in-shore on the Cornish Coast by time served day boat fisherman, typically our fisherman fish with traditional methods such as hand lines, nets and pots.
is your fish traceable?
Absolutely! Every single fish that comes into our HQ in Hayle, Cornwall can be identified from the time & date of the catch to the boat, fisherman and catch method.
The species i'd like is unavailable, can you help?
Yes! If you’d like a specific species but have checked the seasonality and it’s not a suitable time to source the fish, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can suggest and advise you on other species that are available and have comparable flavour and texture. Please give our customer services a call on 01736448668 or email us at

from sea to kitchen

Wild harbour seafood

The clear waters of the Cornish coast are home to Britain’s finest seafood and shellfish. The daily catch from local day boats lands fresh Cornish crab and lobster, magnificent line-caught sea bass in season, mackerel, pollack, sole and place. Wonderful Cornish native oysters, mussels and hand dived king scallops. But with over 40 local species, from  Cornish Sole to Sardines, the truth is we never know what the tide will bring in.