Though regarded as among the tastiest fish, 90% of the catch goes to Europe. Now a supermarket campaign aims to change that
At close to midnight, the crew of the Rachel Anne are surprisingly cheerful, given they have spent seven hours fruitlessly searching the English Channel for sardines. Scanning the screens in the wheelhouse, Richard Chamberlain, the skipper, suddenly spots a red blob on the echo-sounder which indicates a sizeable shoal is close by. “It’s looking good,” he shouts, checking its location and satisfied that it is a “tight” (and therefore plentiful) shoal, and not too deep. “Let’s shoot.”
The nocturnal silence off Cornwall is shattered as a huge circular net is catapulted or “shot” overboard by a hydraulic winch and – engine revving – the boat lurches ahead in a giant curve, the net unfurling behind.