Skipper Will Treneer of Newlyn skippers the 12m long fishing vessel “Lyonesse” from Newlyn. The “Lyonesse” fishes Cornish sardines exclusively for Falfish. The fishing is seasonal from July to January, only catching the fish when they migrate close to UK shores around Mount’s Bay off Penzance in Cornwall.
At 29 years old Will is one of the youngest skippers in the Cornish sardine fishing fleet though what he lacks in age is more than made up for by experience. Will comes from a well-known fishing family and was drawn to the sea from a young age. At 16 Will left school with no doubt in his mind that he wanted to be a fisherman. He started fishing as many young fishermen before him have done – in a small boat fishing for mackerel and pollack with a handline.
At the age of 19 Will grasped the opportunity to work as crewman on the “Lyonesse” and has spent the last 10yrs learning the skills of this fishing. A key requirement being stealth as the sardine shoals, mostly fished at dawn and dusk, can easily be spooked into diving or dispersing due to lights or excessive noise. The fishing is physically and mentally challenging as mostly carried out in the hours of low light and darkness. The use of sonar to find and track shoals, the ring net to encircle the shoal and the vessel’s hydraulic winches must all be learned.
In 2017, after gaining years of valuable experience in this fishery, Will was given the chance to skipper “Lyonesse” and came through his first season in command with flying colours, regularly fishing as well as and sometimes better than other more experienced skippers in the fleet.