Staithes ‘a great central point’ for lobster firm

Andrew, Director of AB Shellfish from Staithes who specialise in Lobsters
Andrew, Director of AB Shellfish from Staithes who specialise in Lobsters

Andy Beevis of AB Shellfish supplies quality live lobsters and believes in looking after things – something that local fishermen who supply him would agree with.

Based in Staithes, the company has been going for 20 years, and for the past five Andy has been running the show.

“Staithes is a good central point for a lot of local fishermen,” he said.

“Anyone working from Redcar to South Gare would have to travel a long way to sell their catch if we weren’t here.

“They want to come ashore and sell immediately.

“I source all the bait for them, whether it’s shad, mackerel, whiting and all the different species available.

“The better quality bait I can supply, the better yield they will achieve and my suppliers will then receive an optimum return.

“It helps everybody thrive and keeps people in jobs.”

As a lobster merchant, Andy runs a small business that has a wide reach, looking after all aspects that this entails. Currently he receives lobsters from 27 boats that land from South Gare to Whitby.

On a weekly basis all lobsters are exported live, 80% go to France and the rest to Spain. A large wagon arrives from the continent with tanks that means the retailer or merchant in Europe can display the lobsters as if they’d just come out of the sea.

The lobster season runs from July to October and at this time of year, the lobsters are full of meat.

Shellfish along this part of the coastline are considered some of the best there is.

“The North East Fisheries put things in place to look after the stocks and at the moment it’s working well.

“I can see a good future for the lobster industry on the North East Coast”, said Andy.

“Its been a short season this year , neither the best nor the worst. Fishermen have to make enough money to last the whole year. There’s an awful lot of work goes on behind the scenes. Once the season is over, months are spent bringing in and repairing their pots for the next year.

“I try to do the best I can to make their job easier.”

Preserving stocks is key to a healthy fishery. Anything that is caught undersize is put straight back in to assist breeding.

Next year escape gaps will be introduced in pots, enabling undersize lobsters to escape.

“Fishermen will take a hit as it will affect the amount they catch, but long term it preserves our future,” he added.