Custom-made crab gear

Chris and Emma Martin started Cornwall Creels in the English fishing port of Newquay some years ago, starting out with a small operation in a shed before moving up to larger unit, and then downscaling again.

Chris and Emma Martin started Cornwall Creels in the English fishing port of Newquay some years ago, starting out with a small operation in a shed before moving up to larger unit, and then downscaling again. Cornwall Creels has worked closely with, and represents Medley Pots. Also operating as an agent for Euronete, supplying their original Euro Steel rope and netting.

Chris Martin commented that making custom-rigged crab and lobster gear is labour-intensive work, and now the standard gear is made at Medley, while the custom-rigged gear that Cornwall Creels used to produce comes from partner company East Coast Creels. The gear all comes from Medley Pots and East Coast Creels.

“Medley Pots in Goole make the standard 22, 24, 25 and 27 inch steel base fully rigged creels. These are all D-shaped pots, in all designs from prawn creels to soft eye, top entry and now single eye parlours designed by us,” he said.

Fitting tray bases have been a real breakthrough in protecting the larger pots from damage. The tray is a plastic base with one-inch deep lip around the edge that the pots sits in, with the pot then rubbered over the frame and the tray together.

“When a steel pot hits the rocks, then the plastic coat is chipped and that’s when the rust sets in, so the idea was to protect the steelwork. The oldest we have of these have now been in use for four years and still have all of the plastic coating intact,” he said.

“We also put a strength bar in each creel, something we have had to do since self-shooting and gunwale rollers became popular now that nobody lifts pots on board or shoot them over the side one at a time. These pots can now take a lot more beating than in the past, and we advise people to fit the bridles low to minimise the battering they can get at the front end.”

In addition to local UK customers, they are supplying regular buyers in France.

“We also sold a lot of prawn creels to Holland for clearing mussels grounds. They were laying the pots over mussel beds there to clear out the green crabs, and found that the crabs were a valuable catch in themselves, enough to more than pay for the pots.”

 

Testing at sea

“I have a lot of ideas for this kind of gear and test everything myself,” Chris Martin said, adding that on his own boat he has recently switched to netting for the moment after a dozen years of solid crab and lobster fishing, and that fishing and supplying gear go hand-in-hand.

“There are the spring tides to do the selling, with fishing in between when the weather allows.  It gives me the chance to try things out for myself and helps tailor gear specifically to customers needs. As a fisherman rather than a salesman, I know just how important it is that the gear is up to standard and there’s no question that ’all right’ isn’t good enough,” he said.

“Fishermen spend large amounts of money on their gear and it has to be the best we can supply for the price they to pay.”