From Boat to Plate - The Catch

From Boat to Plate - The Catch

To celebrate our involvement with the Exeter Food Festival - and as part of our continued campaign to promote the very best of regional food and drink - we’ve teamed up with local chef, Michael Caines MBE, to make three short films. The films tell the story behind our delicious Lyme Bay crabs and lobsters, from the moment they're caught by our fishing boat, the Becci of Ladram, to Michael's finished dish, cooked and served at his prestigious Lympstone Manor restaurant.

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Part 1 focuses on the catch. Our skilled fishmongers do a brilliant job of preparing and presenting the fish for Greendale customers, but a lot of hard work also goes on out at sea, where our crew members strive to get the right catch, often in difficult conditions. To learn more, we went out on a damp, grey morning to film Skipper Tony Wreford and his team, who work onboard Greendale’s 10-metre Potter and Netter, the Becci of Ladram. The Becci is fully licensed by the Marine Management Organisation to catch shellfish and prime fish, and fishes according to Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority regulations. As you might expect, Skipper Tony is something of an expert when it comes to fishing these waters – he’s been working in Lyme Bay for fifty years, and knows exactly where (and, importantly, when) to look for the best crabs, lobsters, cuttlefish and whelks.

Tony and his crew use pots for crab, lobster and whelk fishing; each rigid, netting-covered pot is baited and laid in the water, where the animals are attracted to the bait and enter the pot through an opening in the netting. The opening is positioned in such a way that, once inside, the animal cannot easily escape, but specially-designed escape hatches ensure that smaller-sized animals go free. The animals that are hauled in to the boat are each measured individually, and any that are smaller than the legally-approved size are put back into the sea alive. Tony’s practised eye and years of experience mean he knows exactly what to look for – for example, the colour of a Lyme Bay crab will indicate how good it’ll be to eat; the darker yellow its shell is, the better.

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Fishing with pots in this way helps to limit damage to the ocean habitat, especially as the pots do not damage the sea floor, and – thanks to the skill and care of Tony and his crew – it also helps to ensure that the crabs and lobsters brought aboard the Becci are of superb quality.

When the catch is landed at Exmouth docks, it has a short journey to the tanks at Greendale Farm Shop, where customers can choose a live crab or lobster fresh from the waters of Lyme Bay.

See where the Becci of Ladram is fishing now via our live fleet map

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