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Fishing at Night


THERE are, as I have explained in the book referred to by “S. W.” in NATURE of December 29, 1904 (p. 201), many reasons for night-fishing by our pilchard and other fishing fleets. He quotes one, however, which is quite unsatisfactory, namely, the convenience of catching the morning market. To a few ports this might apply, but as a general rule the fish-train for Billingsgate leaves the coast towns about six or seven in the evening, the fish reaching the central market by van first thing in the morning. The actual reasons for this preference for night-fishing are many. In the case of pilchards taken in drift-nets, the habits of the fish themselves furnish the explanation. In the case of trawlers, the reasons are diverse. In some cases the water is so shallow that the nets would be seen and avoided by the fish in daylight, and this, in fact, is still more the case with the drift-nets. Elsewhere, they trawl at night because they want soles, just as many Plymouth boats trawl by day because their best market is for the rougher kinds of fish. There is no night-trawling in Cornwall by reason of the local regulations, which clear the sea by night of other fishing craft in order that the drifters may work without interruption or risk.

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AFLALO, F. Fishing at Night. Nature 71, 221–222 (1905).

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