Chef's Choice: Tyron Ellul on creel fishing in southwest Scotland
Tyron Ellul, head chef at Glenapp Castle, explains a little about the sustainable lobster fishing in the area
‘In the early days of spring when the weather starts to settle down, the waters round our local shores start to get busy with small local fishing boats heading out to drop their creels, mainly for lobsters and crabs. Creel fishing, also known as potting is a “static” form of fishing, meaning that the pots are dropped from the boat to the sea bed and they stay there, until collected by the fisherman. It’s a very sustainable way of fishing. Lobsters and brown crabs are the main species sought by the fishermen in our area and different bait is used depending on which species is being targeted.
Creels are generally made from cylindrical steel bars, plastic coated, bent and arched into shape, and fixed to a flat, weighted floor, then covered with netting. Lobsters and crabs enter via a small, narrowing netted tunnel on either side of the pot. Once inside, and dropped to the floor, they cannot get back out. The creel fishing season usually goes on until late autumn or early winter, depending on the weather conditions.
Warmer conditions over the summer make it easier for fisherman, not only because of more favourable weather conditions for going out to sea, but also because lobsters and crabs alike, move closer to the shores to warmer waters to spawn their eggs.’
Tyron Ellul is head chef at Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae, Ayrshire.