Today is a sad day as the Committee of the Cornwall Sea Fisheries meets for the last time. 121 years of service by Cornwall Sea fisheries Committee comes to an end on the 31st March 2011. This body has given exemplary service (1890 – 2011) for a Century and twenty-one years. It is replaced by a new body called IFCA.
The meeting today had no real business to discuss, but was a trip down memory lane on the history. For instance Cornwall was the 2nd County to form a Committee and for the first fifty odd years has only one officer. In 1962 the Committee took ownership of its first boat called the Cornubia. This was followed in 1973 by the Palores, then in 1991 the Verifier and finally in June 2000 the St Piran.
In the Long Galley at County Hall on the various tables are hardbound books of past meetings. These make very interesting reading because it is gives a real history of this body. In the past the Sea Fishery Officer used to take out a group of men and shoot seals. They got paid one guinea for each seal killed. From the minutes of December 1947 a total of 28 seals were killed that season compared to 24 the previous season.
A snapshot of the industry was also provided, starting in 1898 when there were 1241 boats working the coast with 5484 men working at sea and a further estimated 40,000 people employed on shore directly in this industry. In 1950 there were 420 boats and 810 men, and finally in 2009 the number of boats was 610 and 1037 people working them.
As I said, this is a sad day as I believe the Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee has worked and is now being replaced with a new body that I believe has less input from those who work in the industry and is loaded more with scientific and environmental bureaucrats.