Cornish Sardines PGI 2009. I’ve been to Cornwall with friends and they’ve gone nuts over these little beauties. Sardines go by many names, Pilchard, young herring, Sardinella and host of location specific titles.
The name is thought have originated from Sardinia where the young fish would shoal in millions. Small fish used to called Sardines and larger fish Pilchards now in Kernow (Cornwall) they’ll all Known as Sardines.
There’s been a Sardine fishing fleet in the Southwest since the 1500. They still use the same technics of either drift nets or ring nets (see the Sardine King). The industry nearly died out completely in the 1990’s as demand was low, only to become popular again in the noughties. A few brave chefs, the love of the mediteranian diet and holiday memories revived the market.
The shoals are huge and sustainable as supported by the Marine Stewardship Council, they achieved the Protected Geographical Index (PGI) status in 2009. Everything is done to preserve the fishing grounds, the nets are designed to let the smaller fish escape, they avoid the sea bed, there’s two reasons for this one to protect the habitat and two avoiding snagging nets which is extremely expensive. The fish are caught in the larger nets by the ton and then scouped out with Brailing nets to avoid damaging the fish. An average catch can way 10 to 20 tons, but not always and most are sold before reaching port.
The fishing season Cornish Sardines is from July to March and the boats always fish at night, sometimes 5 times week unless the weather is extremely bad. As the fishing area is within an area no more than six miles from the Cornish coast it takes less than an hour get these young little Silver Darlings to market.
If you want to try them there’s no better place than Cornwall
For more info look at the wikipedia
Compliance info here.
Buy here or ask your local fish monger.
There’s also the Newlyn fish festival here. newlynfishfestival