Fishy business: research on Cornwall’s inshore fisheries

Two relatively recent articles on the Cornish inshore fisheries and the men employed in them are reviewed here. The first looks at access to healthcare and identifies the constraints facing ‘fishers’. The second contrasts the Cornish inshore fisheries with the coastal fisheries of Tuscany. It identifies the strategies employed by the small-scale fishing sector in the face of structural change in EU fishing policy and the UK administration of it. Direct-selling and diversification are cited as possible strategies to sustain these traditional fisheries.

Mevagissey harbour

On a wider note, it’s interesting that there’s a steady flow of academic articles addressing the fishing industry, despite its small size and limited current role in the Cornish economy. We await articles on the healthcare issues of supermarket workers, the problems faced by the workforce of fast-food outlets or call centres, or the sustainability of shopkeepers in Cornwall’s market towns. It’s good that Cornish fishing is receiving continuing attention. But are the more numerous workers in other sectors being inadvertently ignored in the academic fascination with a ‘traditional’ Cornish industry that is intrinsically bound up with ideological constructs of Cornwall?

Housing and population: how Cornwall compares

From 2011 to 2018 the number of people in Cornwall grew from 534,000 to an estimated 566,000. This was a faster rate of growth than the other parts of Great Britain.

The number of houses built in Cornwall grew even faster. Interestingly, while the growth in the number of dwellings in England was less than the growth in population, the reverse has been the case in the Celtic countries.

Deprivation in Cornwall: new data

Recently a new Index of Multiple Deprivation was published by the Government. This index measures deprivation in several dimensions, including income, health, educational qualifications and crime among others. In the press reports of this, no comparison was made with earlier indices. Although the methodology has changed somewhat, which makes the exercise a little difficult, it’s still interesting to compare the new data with that of 2010.

In 2010 eight of Cornwall’s 328 Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs – census areas with around 1,500 residents) were among the 10% most deprived in England and Cornwall. Here’s a map of their location.

Now, in 2019, 17 of Cornwall and Scilly’s 323 LSOAs are in the 10% most deprived.

Here’s a map of the current situation.

Meanwhile, the numbers at the top show little change. In 2010 three of Cornwall’s LSOAs were in the 20% least deprived. Now there are five. The least deprived is Carlyon Bay near St Austell, followed by LSOAs at Latchbrook near Saltash, one at Helston and two at Truro.