Cornish fisherman embarks on Twitter voyage to set the record straight

David Warwick's vessel Valhalla
David Warwick's vessel Valhalla Photo: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

A fisherman from Cornwall has taken to Twitter in an attempt to show readers what life on a trawler is really like.

David Warwick, who has been a fisherman for more than 25 years, believes his trade is under attack in the media from "unfair, unwarranted and ill-informed" reporting.

He decided that the best way to set the record straight was to invite millions of Twitter users to spend a day in his wellies by tweeting his every move through the course of a day.

In doing so, he says he hopes to dispel the image of fishermen as "heartless sea barons" and introduce the public to a "fishing fraternity that takes pride in the fact it is providing food security to this island nation".

The Cornish village of Mevagissey at daybreak
The Cornish village of Mevagissey at daybreak Credit: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

David's day starts at 3am in the fishing harbour of Mevagissey on Cornwall's southern coast.

He and his crew row out to where his 35-foot fishing vessel, Valhalla, is moored before starting a long day with a cup of tea.


Our trawler Valhalla is kept on a mooring so first job: fetch the small boat to row out to her #FishTales


All set and getting the most important job of the day started. Tea! David & John.

David Warwick, the tweeting fisherman, in the pilot's cabin
David Warwick, the tweeting fisherman, in the pilot's cabin Credit: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

Deciding where to go for the day's fishing is down to "hunches" and "intuition," David says, honed by having grown up in a fishing family.


Fishing grounds for today have been decided - going with my fisherman's intuition to select where #FishTales


Choosing fishing grounds depends on time of year, species targeting and state of tides. No better judge than personal hunches #FishTales

David insists he does strive to fish sustainably, but says he finds that "the science and what we see on the ground don't add up".

Fishing six days a week - weather allowing - for more than a quarter of a century gives him a fair idea of how local fish populations have changed.


Sometimes look at diaries of where we fished this time last year. My records go back 16 years so good idea of where to find fish #FishTales

The first catch of the day is hauled in
The first catch of the day is hauled in Credit: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

Shortly before 9am, David and his crew haul in the first catch of the day before gutting and sorting the fish on board the Valhalla.


Time to begin hauling the nets for the first time today #FishTales


First haul in, not a bad start - lots of lemon sole, red gurners, monkfish & plaice. Hoping for better seond haul #FishTales

Fish in the gutting tray, ready for sorting and gutting
Fish in the gutting tray, ready for sorting and gutting Credit: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

As well as giving an insight into his work, David also uses the opportunity to answer questions posed by members of the public.


@nffo_uk what's the most unusual thing they have caught in their nets ?? ?


@brxsimon got to be either a motorbike or a WW2 depth charge that had to be detonated by Navy #FishTales


@nffo_uk Will you just sell your catch at the market? Or do restaurants/fish n chip shops etc buy from you directly? #FishTales


@fortheloveofish All our fish goes market - some could be eaten in fancy restaurant as early as 2morrow, or sent on a lorry to EU #FishTales

A Cornish fisherman's lunch of sausages (but never pasties)
A Cornish fisherman's lunch of sausages (but never pasties) Credit: Twitter/@NFFO_UK

At around 11am, David and his crew enjoy a well-earned lunch of sausages.

For those expecting the Cornish man to get stuck into a pasty, he says it is considered bad luck to eat the local delicacy on board a fishing vessel.


@turner_celia Cornish never eat a pasty aboard a fishing boat, tried twice & both ended in calamity. Certain words never used aboard, too!

Each haul is carefully recorded in the ship's logbook before the crew head back to port after a 14-hour day at sea. They will be up at the same time tomorrow to start again.

This punishing schedule is common during the summer months when the weather allows for long days at sea. During the winter, several days can pass between outings.


Filling out logbook before next haul. Daily details of where & when we sail, area fished, kit used, species & weight of fish #FishTales


Land ahoy! Mevagissey in sight on the horizon. Not long until we get to work on our final haul of the day #FishTales


A lovely afternoon at sea, the sun is out and all is good in the world. Days like this I really do have the best job in the world #FishTales

Read David Warwick's blog about his Twitter mission here