A handful of small boats still fish for crabs, lobsters and shell-fish out of Berwick, Holy Island and other local harbours.
Some of the catch is sold locally. Look out for Eyemouth haddock in shops and on fish restaurant menus, as well as other local specialities such as Berwick crabs and lobster, Lindisfarne oysters, and kippers smoked in the traditional smokehouses at Eyemouth, Craster and Seahouses.
The Berwick Shellfish Companyis one of several businesses in our area that proxess and export locally-caught crabs, lobesters and shellfish to southern Europe. The Company also offers a retail service for customers at their premises in Dock Road, Tweedmouth.
Brightly-painted traditional fishing boats called cobles are a distinctive feature of the Northumberland coast.
Just across the Scottish Border, Eyemouth still has a small fleet of trawlers. Several of the town’s fish-merchants operate smokehouses, and local shops and restaurants offer fish and shell-fish landed by the Eyemouth boats.
Berwick-upon-Tweed was a busy herring port in the 19th century. Hundreds of local people were employed as fishermen on the herring drifters and as herring-lasses gutting and packing the fish for export, mainly to the Baltic. The great days of the herring trade ended in the early 20th century but the hulls of old herring drifters can be seen on Holy Island being used as storage sheds for fishermen’s gear.
Traditional smokehouses, like those still operated by J. Waddell in Eyemouth, Swallow Fish Ltd. in Seahouses or Robson’s of Craster, have been turning herrings into tasty kippers since Victorian times.