Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Wingham’s fresh fish by Shaun and Penny

Roberto RINALDI's picture

Shaun and Penny have been catch fish for their shop using a sustainable fishing technique that minimizes bycatch and reduces carbon emissions.

On the Holderness coast, East Riding council (UK), bass have been landed commercially since the mid-1990s in small quantities, with most of the directed bass fishing efforts recorded along the Yorkshire coast in autumn and winter.

Shaun has been fishing most of all his life and opened the shop 16 years ago with Penny - a little fishmonger located in Wingham.

Description of the process for the case study (green solution)

The husband and wife team supplies locally caught seafood to Withernsea and surrounding areas. At the beginning they sold crab that was fished using longlining and trawling, while in the last decade they have used shore net fishing – a more sustainable method - off the beach at Tunstall.

During bass season there are three nets out on the shore to fish bass, but during salmon season only one net is installed on shore. The length of the nets averages 15 yards (less than 14 meters) and due to the shorter tide length than other neighbouring places, Shaun is able to set only one net at sea.

The nets are attached to ropes that are anchored in the shore and are emptied after a high tide has reached its second lowest point, which is when a new low tide starts. This is the precise moment when the majority of fish is caught.

Once the operation of emptying the nets is over, the catch is brought to the fishmonger, and when there is a generous catch, the fish is also sold at the local market in Hull.


This fishing technique is considered to have a very low environmental impact due to the very low bycatch that can be observed (estimated to be about only 2%), but also because the only mean of transportation used is a car, allowing massive carbon emission savings by avoiding the use of a fishing boat.

There is no way to tell on average how many ton are fished, because it all depends on the conditions of the sea. So far, 2015 has been a good year and Shaun and Penny hope for October to start again a good condition.


A benefit related to this fishing technique it that you can catch a lot of fish without going out to sea, where there are so many regulations that it is hinders the activity of the business.

Otherwise, Shaun and Penny received no economic incentives to switch a more sustainable fishing technique, but the recognition by people and satisfaction from the customers it is what it makes it worth it.

Barriers/challenges and Lessons learnt

Shaun and Penny perceived the following challenges and barriers with regards to their business:

  • Seals are a big problem as they can take the fish and damage the nets (especially in the summer time, when the sea is calmer so they come closer), as well as pigeons taking the fish;
  • The discards produced by surrounding companies working on the coast results in a lot of rubbish in the nets, which is a big problem;
  • If enforced, “net attendance” law would be harmful. The new landing size will produce more discards than the actual one, while the old 90 mm nets need to be landfilled. Going to the market to buy fish would it make it more difficult/a struggle to keep going because it makes quality control difficult. Furthermore, the secondary businesses relying on this fishing system are not considered, because erroneously classified as “another business” by the Environmental Agency.

“No lessons learnt, except that this is a lot of hard work. The problems are weather and plastics. You need to be really passionate about it” said Shaun when interviewed for this green solution. 

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
Medium to low capital intensive investment (i.e. €3,000 -€10,000)
Operating and maintenance costs: 
Yes, low O&M costs
Emission reductions description: 
Drastic reduction of fuel consumption and correlated emissions