West Wales Coracle-Caught Salmon PGI 2013
Which cruel person came up with this idea? You can fish for the Salmon and we’ll give you PGI status but you have to use a Coracle. To those that don’t know a Coracle is an ancient boat shaped like half a walnut. The frame is split willow and the skin of the hull is, erm, skin or more likely canvas today, plastered in tar to make it water tight. They’ve been fishing for Salmon like this for centuries. I’m sure these days there must be an easier way to do it but then it wouldn’t be the same.
I had a go in one once and managed to turn on the spot without making any headway whatsoever for about 30 minutes. I eventually got the hang of it but it’s far from straightforward and I didn’t have one hand holding a paddle and the other holding a fishing net.
As if things weren’t hard enough the nets are handmade from linen or hemp and restricted in depth and length. The fishermen use their extensive knowledge of the river bed to trawl the net between two Coracles at just the right height from the bottom to catch the Salmon.
On top of this the season is somewhat short. They can fish on three rivers the Tywi, the Teifi and the Taf but only between the dates listed below
As this a strictly seasonal food I can find no one that sells it. Perhaps when it’s in season it will be easier to source.