Brixham 2 Coast and Country Auctions


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Brixham 2

Series looking at Britain's traditional markets. A spotlight on Brixham Fish Market, established for over a hundred years, where business is doing better than ever before.


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Transcript


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We may live in a digital age...

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but a surprising amount of British trade

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is still done the old-fashioned way...

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HE CALLS OUT BIDS

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..at traditional auctions.

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Now's your time to get a bargain.

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These sales may feel like throwbacks to a bygone age...

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But for the buyers and sellers who flock to them,

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they are still the best way to conduct business.

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And 1,600, blow your nose and bid again.

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We will be visiting the UK's most dynamic traditional markets.

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Selling everything from pigs to cattle...

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sheepdogs to ponies...

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fish to veg.

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And discovering how they are the heartbeat of rural life.

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There will be bargains to be had today.

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450. That is part of being in an auction.

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Today we are on the south coast,

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home to one of the UK's busiest fish auctions.

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-20, 30. 40.

-This is about as big as it gets.

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We will be meeting the auctioneers in the hot seat.

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This is where we start saying, "The battle commences."

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And following the fortunes of three buyers and sellers...

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Have a look at some mackerel.

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We can spend £10,000 in a day.

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...as they experience all the excitement...

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Best purchase of the day.

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...and tension...

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I could be crying in my coffee tomorrow.

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..as the hammer falls.

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890.

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We are on the Devon coast in Brixham,

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one of the UK's most ancient fishing ports.

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It is a small town with a big business at its heart.

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The world-famous Brixham fish market.

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950, I have got nine and ten.

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Two in a piece and the carry, piece is 1.9.

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Two in a piece and a William, piece is 5.7.

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This historic auction turns over an amazing £30 million a year -

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more than any other fish market in England.

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The livelihoods of hundreds in Brixham depend on it.

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I think what I am always on the

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lookout for is the best fish, the shiniest fish.

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I know it sounds silly, but they have got a sparkle in their eyes.

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£5 on them mixed lemons.

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450. Everyone loves lemon sole, especially from Brixham market.

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Ten for a piece.

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It's 4:30am.

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-Overrated, John, isn't it? Sleep.

-JOHN LAUGHS

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A waste of life, isn't it, sleeping.

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And auctioneers John Rogers and Todd Crombie

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are already hard at work.

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Well, what I am doing at the moment is booking all the fish

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in the market, so I can group it upstairs,

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so it is easier for me and John to sell when we start selling.

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It's a massive hi-tech operation.

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Boats land their catches beside the market...

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And it's sorted overnight,

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ready for the auction at 6am every weekday.

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A punishing schedule for the auctioneers.

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We don't turn in until about 11 o'clock at night

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and we get up at four every morning, so...

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we're used to not having much kip.

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Demand for Brixham fish has never been higher.

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70% of what is sold here will go abroad.

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And the market is booming as never before.

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Last year was the first year that we have actually topped

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a million for a week.

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But this year, I mean, we've had...

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certainly about seven or eight weeks

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on the trot where we have done that and exceeded more.

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But the fishing port, really, in Brixham,

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I mean, it is massive, isn't it?

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The amount of people that is employed through here

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and the business what goes through the port.

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All right, mate, nice one.

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I have been auctioneering out of Brixham now for around 15 years now.

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And I was at sea for 20 odd years.

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The Brixham fish trade is very much a family affair.

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Done 15 years at sea.

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Straight after school.

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Went into the fishing industry and my family has been in fishing, so,

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father, grandfather, and I love the job.

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It is, you know, get a buzz out of it everyday.

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Many of the buyers and sellers who come here to the auction every day

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have fishing in their blood, often going back generations.

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It is 5:45, the buyers arrive to scope out the fish.

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Beautiful. Brixham fish is just on the up and up and up all the time.

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I'll get some dorries.

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-Yeah. We don't need that many, do we?

-No.

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And John and Todd get ready for action.

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This is where we start saying, "The battle commences."

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Raring to go.

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Ta-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra!

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6am, time for the auction to begin.

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BELL RINGS

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HE SHOUTS

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HE CALLS OUT BIDS

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Too many of them. £4.

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-390. Gordon. It's at 20.

-Now it is at 60. 660. 650.

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Gordon, 650.

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There is about 40 buyers here today.

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Some will spend a few hundred on fish for their shop.

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Just that one fish. How much is that one? £4.

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Others are big traders who will spend tens of thousands.

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Just imagine the turbots and the brills.

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That will all make good money today. Bass, that will make good money.

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It is a tight-knit community.

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You have to have a licence to buy here and there are rules.

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Coats and boots must be worn, plus a hat of any description.

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£9 on the number fives. I've got 8.50, 8.60. 8.60, 8.70., 8.90, £9.

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Bidding is in pence per kilo and happens at lightning speed.

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Somebody say 80? 80 by Walker.

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90? £3.80, Walker.

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Obviously I will start the market and I'll start the price off,

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which I think and they will try and knock me down,

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and I will try to batter them back up again.

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50 on the number three haddocks.

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Come on, haddock man.

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They are a bit small but I am getting them smoked.

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That's all right. So I am not asking you if you are getting them smoked,

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I am asking you if you want to buy them.

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There is a huge amount of fish to sell today.

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It is a Monday, and the weather has been good, so a lot of boats have

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been landing fish all weekend.

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Everything must be sold within the next few hours.

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We always have two auctions going on at once.

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So basically I will be selling the prime,

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Todd will be selling the day boats.

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Prime fish are the big species like sole,

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turbot and monkfish caught in deep waters by the big trawlers.

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The smaller boats land their fish daily,

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making it the freshest on the market.

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Right, start off at head grabs, I've got 1.40...

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It's a slick operation,

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but the people at the heart of this auction,

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the fishermen, are not usually here to see the fish sold.

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Why the fishermen don't come down and watch the market going on,

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purely because they are out there catching fish.

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You get the odd one now and again, if they have landed a nice land,

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they might pop up and have a look on the market,

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but nine times out of ten most of them go sea.

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The fishermen rely on Todd and John

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to get the best possible money for their catch.

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It does sometimes get a bit heated down there, but, you know,

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you have got to be trying...

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A fine line between the fishermen, the buyers.

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You know, you are trying to do a service to both, basically.

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A good auctioneer would be getting the best prices for the fish.

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You know the boat is going to be happy and the fishermen

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are going to be happy.

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So you can walk into a pub with your head held high

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at the end of the day.

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But the industry is unpredictable,

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with supply and demand affecting prices daily.

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Just that one fish. I might sell on £4.

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-Yeah.

-£4 by Walker. 4.10? 4.50, 4.60.

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70? 70, 80?

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For fishermen like Matt Ould,

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the instability of prices makes earning a living a real challenge.

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The prices can be heartbreaking some days.

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So you are always hoping

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for the best money that Todd and

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whoever else is selling your fish can get you.

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20p, 30p extra, you can get per kilo,

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might be your fuel for the week or

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even your wages for the week.

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Like so many of the people involved with the Brixham auction,

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fishing is in Matt's blood.

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My dad was a fisherman, grandad a fishermen, great grandad.

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I left school at 15. Was never very good at school.

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Went fishing from then.

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It overpowered everything else.

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I have just had a new eight-metre catamaran built.

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The name of the boat is the Michael Robert.

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That is what Dad is called, Michael Robert.

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Dad had been very ill.

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I am getting a bit of a...

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He had got over it, came back again, got over it, and I thought...

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That is the name for it. He is still at sea, still doing a little bit.

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Him and my grandfather,

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they have taught myself and my brother what we know.

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And we have been lucky.

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For Matt to keep the family fishing business

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alive, he has spent over £100,000 on the new catamaran.

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Such a big investment means the

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prices he gets at auction matter even more.

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But even with his brand-new boat, he can't get out earning just yet.

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Hello, Dad, all right? Yeah, at the moment we are a bit stuck.

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Well, let's...

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Well, if we can get it going, we can go this afternoon.

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Here we are on a beautiful Wednesday morning, no wind.

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Nice and sunny, a bit chilly.

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Come down to go to sea, and we have got an engine broke down.

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Luckily, a fiddle with the electrics...

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Oh, right.

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...and the Michael Robert is raring to go.

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Hello, Dad, all right? Yeah, we are just leaving now.

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All right? Cheers.

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-Bye-bye.

-Finally, Matt is going fishing.

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We have got 60 pots to do on three recs.

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What compels somebody to get up at four in the morning?

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It's that hunter gatherer in you.

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Taking the gamble that the fish is going to be where

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your hunting instinct is telling you to go.

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The drive is definitely primeval.

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Matt needs to get around £400 for each day's catch at auction,

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just to cover his running costs and pay himself a basic wage.

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Cock crab.

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So far, today's catch is looking good -

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a mix of male or cock crabs and female or hen crabs.

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It's narrow. That's a cock crab. That's wide. That's the hen crab.

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The value is usually better on the cock crabs.

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Especially when it's decent stuff. They're usually more money.

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These crabs could make as much

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as £2.50 or even £3 a kilo at auction.

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But Matt has no way of knowing what prices he will get.

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And the last few months have been unusually tough.

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You are treading a very fine line.

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This year, for example, I have got this new boat,

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cuttlefish season for us in shore was absolutely dire.

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The mackerel have only just turned up,

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and then the price has gone rock-bottom on that, so...

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It's like putting a bet on a horse. Don't know which will win.

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Go inside to shoot these, because I have got to miss the rack, so...

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Matt has dedicated his life to the sea.

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It is hard, physical work, long hours and no guaranteed income.

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But it does have its perks.

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Yeah, there is a love. You have got to love it or you wouldn't do it.

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Getting out there on a lovely, quiet summer's morning,

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daylight is just coming at four o'clock in the morning,

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birds are chirping outside the house.

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You get down to the quay, everything is coming to life.

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Just seen some dolphins, big dolphins.

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There they are, behind us.

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You see things around the coast that a lot of people would never see.

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They are over here now.

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These white beak dolphins are special.

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There is thought to be only 100 or so in the English Channel,

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so this is a rare sighting.

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To make life even harder, Matt can't even sell

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everything he catches.

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Just a bit too small.

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The government upped the size last year for hen crabs.

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So it's... Whereas last year they would have been saleable,

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they are not now, so... Chuck 'em back.

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It's an added pressure, especially on a small operator like Matt.

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He has to keep on top of changing regulations

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to ensure he does not take any fish to market that are not allowed.

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Small lobster.

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It's too small. So I chuck him back.

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After a day at sea, Matt has pulled

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all his crab pots and seems to have a healthy haul.

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But what it will make at the auction he has no way of knowing.

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It will probably be a £400 day. Maybe a bit more.

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Hopefully, if the prices are right on the market,

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it all depends on that. It could be...

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I could be crying in my coffee.

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All right, Brixham bound.

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Put it on the market, see what it makes.

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It will either make good money or it will not make such good money.

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These are the tallies. That just

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lets the market know whose fish it is.

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When the boats come in to land, we have numerous staff

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down on the market, they will land the boats,

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take the fish by forklift into the market

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and then the night shifts start.

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Matt's crabs are weighed on a sophisticated conveyor belt

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and sorted by boat and size.

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Every box is clearly labelled Michael Robert

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so the buyers can see which boat the fish came from

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and the weight of the box they are buying.

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John and Todd, I do put a lot of trust in them.

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Yeah, we put a lot of trust in the sorting staff at night.

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If they don't look after it properly,

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Todd isn't going to sell it for decent money the next day.

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Right, now, the mixed lemons, then.

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Mixed lemons. £3 on them lemons.

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Back at the auction, and by the time his crab comes up for sale,

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Matt is already back at sea.

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The Michael Robert's haul joins the catches of 30 other boats

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in this unusually big market.

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-I've got 90, 80...90.

-£9.80.

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And moving on, chaps.

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The question is - will Matt get the £2 a kilo for his crabs

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that he is hoping for?

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Right, onto the next boat, it is the Michael Robert, then.

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£1.50. £1.60. £1.50, John Bond at £1.50, Johnny.

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And what would you like, my old fruit? Just one, please. One box.

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The first box sells for £1.50 a kilo.

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50p less than Matt was hoping for.

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£1.40, £1.50.

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£1.50 now, £1.60.

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£1.50, and that is the piece...

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And that is the 14.5.

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The next box goes for the same price.

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And the other box, I have got £1.40, £1.50.

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One bid by Jonas, £1.60.

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£1.50, Jonas. £1.50, Steve.

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And that, mate, is the one box. And moving on...

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Not quite the result Matt was after.

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But it is the fickle nature of selling at auction.

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The prices vary because of the supply and demand.

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The buyers have got a price that they go to,

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and if you're not going to get that price, that's it.

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Ten, 20. 20, 30. 35, then 40.

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40, 50?

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£20.40.

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Ironically, the auctioneers think it is the unusually good weather

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that has driven the crab price down.

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You know, this time of the year, I mean,

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we're just not having the bad weather

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like we have had in years past.

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Prices at the moment have dropped in the last few weeks.

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Every port has got fish being landed to it, including the continent,

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obviously the Dutch and the Belgian and the French

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are out as well in fine weather.

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A lot of our markets are export markets,

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and if they have got a lot of fish over there that drops,

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then that determines our price that is going to drop as well.

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Fishing has always been competitive and unpredictable...

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but over the centuries, Brixham has always prospered...

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through innovation.

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In the 1900s, the port developed trawlers

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that could go further and deeper than their competitors.

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A design so good it was copied throughout the UK and Europe.

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It has been a fishing town for many a year.

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Back in the 18th century, really,

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it all starts from the same sailing smacks right up until now.

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And Brixham market itself,

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with its digital displays and interactive pads

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for the auctioneers,

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is one of the most hi-tech in the world.

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-And number two, please. I have got £2.20.

-Number two box.

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7.20. 7.10...

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The fate of fishermen like Matt is dependent on buyers like Josh Perks.

0:20:330:20:40

The young entrepreneur is excited by the huge range of fish available at

0:20:400:20:44

this bumper Monday market.

0:20:440:20:46

Today is a really big day, as you can see.

0:20:480:20:50

There are boxes all around me.

0:20:500:20:52

And this is about as big as it gets.

0:20:520:20:54

Josh may be young, but he is from the biggest fishing dynasty in town.

0:20:540:20:58

His dad, Ian, and uncle Sean, are the Mr Bigs of Brixham fish auction,

0:21:020:21:07

spending tens of thousands of pounds on fish every day.

0:21:070:21:10

But young Josh has made a big leap and set up on his own.

0:21:120:21:16

Josh's new business is just 20 yards from the auction.

0:21:210:21:25

I did ten years working for my dad, who is Ian, and Sean, my uncle,

0:21:250:21:31

then kind of got fed up of their bickering.

0:21:310:21:35

So we got our heads together with a chap called Nigel Ward and said,

0:21:350:21:39

"Let's make a bespoke little business,

0:21:390:21:42

"supplying only top-quality fish, working with only the best chefs."

0:21:420:21:46

He loves fish, he eats fish almost every day.

0:21:470:21:51

It's a revelation to deal with someone so enthusiastic.

0:21:510:21:55

The company, Brixham Seafish,

0:21:550:21:57

supplies high-end restaurants around the country.

0:21:570:22:00

Not only is it right opposite the auction...

0:22:010:22:04

That's my unit, just there.

0:22:040:22:05

But it is just a stone's throw from a rather bigger,

0:22:050:22:08

well-established business, his dad's.

0:22:080:22:11

And young Josh is determined to prove he can succeed on his own.

0:22:120:22:16

This isn't your average job. It isn't.

0:22:170:22:20

There are far easier jobs in the world.

0:22:200:22:23

But doing this and having the passion to come down

0:22:230:22:27

here every morning at five o'clock, five days a week,

0:22:270:22:31

to work with some of the best fish in the world,

0:22:310:22:34

and know that it is the best fish, it really drives you.

0:22:340:22:38

Like so many in Brixham, fishing really is in Josh's blood.

0:22:400:22:44

My great-great-granddad had a fishing boat,

0:22:490:22:53

so then my great grandad it was passed onto.

0:22:530:22:56

Working down the line to me.

0:22:580:22:59

I used to come here on my days off from school with my dad,

0:23:010:23:04

come and buy fish with Dad and stand around on the auction,

0:23:040:23:07

listening to all the older men swearing.

0:23:070:23:10

And I loved it. I used to be into extreme sports a lot,

0:23:100:23:15

so mountain biking, snowboarding, I thought, yeah,

0:23:150:23:18

I will create a business doing that or something.

0:23:180:23:20

I went away backpacking for a couple of years

0:23:200:23:24

and coming home made me realise how special Brixham is

0:23:240:23:28

and what we have on our doorstep.

0:23:280:23:30

Brixham is a community built on fishing and tourism,

0:23:310:23:35

and Josh's favourite visitor falls into both camps.

0:23:350:23:39

A bit like working at SeaWorld. Ready?

0:23:390:23:42

There he is.

0:23:450:23:47

Every day I take a little bit of

0:23:470:23:48

fish off the market and I feed Sammy.

0:23:480:23:50

You can never get fed up with a face like that.

0:23:530:23:56

10.10, 10 20, 20, 30?

0:24:030:24:05

30, 40? 40, 50?

0:24:050:24:07

We will give this squid a blast, shall we?

0:24:070:24:10

That's a whopper, isn't it? Look at him.

0:24:100:24:12

Back at the auction, and Josh is always among the early birds.

0:24:120:24:16

For his high-end clients, only the best and very freshest fish will do.

0:24:160:24:22

Nigel and I get down to the fish quay at about 5:15.

0:24:220:24:25

We write down a list, like a shopping list, between us.

0:24:250:24:28

A large plaice, mackerel, portion-size plaice.

0:24:280:24:32

Sprats, turbot, squid, scallops and hake.

0:24:320:24:36

So it is quite a list.

0:24:360:24:38

Right. Trust me, we will get there, mate.

0:24:380:24:40

This auction is like no other auction in the UK.

0:24:400:24:43

It is like a league of buyers,

0:24:430:24:45

different buyers for different fish, different species.

0:24:450:24:48

So you have got all these people of different levels, almost, competing.

0:24:480:24:53

And Josh relishes the competition.

0:24:530:24:55

At the market, we can spend anything from £2,000 to £10,000 in a day.

0:24:550:25:02

For that sort of money, you better get the best fish,

0:25:020:25:05

and with the stakes so high, you better make sure your bids

0:25:050:25:08

-are heard too.

-Yeah.

-30.

0:25:080:25:13

He has won his first lot of the day - hake -

0:25:130:25:17

and chooses how many boxes he needs.

0:25:170:25:19

Uh...three. Three.

0:25:190:25:22

Three boxes...

0:25:220:25:25

So, I have just bought some 1-2 kilos size hake.

0:25:250:25:29

Which is perfect for my friend who has got a group of restaurants

0:25:290:25:32

for fish and chips.

0:25:320:25:34

That is one ticked off the list and one satisfied customer.

0:25:340:25:37

It can be a gamble, buying fish off the market like this,

0:25:410:25:44

because some days you will buy fish at an all right price...

0:25:440:25:48

-Right, large haddocks, then.

-1 50.

-2.50.

0:25:490:25:53

Tomorrow, twice or three times the amount of that same species

0:25:530:25:56

might be landed and the price might fall, might completely drop.

0:25:560:26:00

Josh plays hardball on prices for day-boat fish...

0:26:020:26:05

£9.50, Brixham.

0:26:070:26:09

2.50, Brixham, at £2.50, Josh.

0:26:090:26:11

Where you like, mate. 1.30, over them two, Brixham.

0:26:110:26:14

He only wants the best, but he also wants to get everything on his list.

0:26:140:26:19

His reputation relies on it.

0:26:190:26:21

There are some lovely reds just on the right there.

0:26:210:26:24

Going to be near the end of the market.

0:26:240:26:26

But as well as hits, there are also misses.

0:26:260:26:29

I have crossed off the sprats,

0:26:290:26:31

because there are no sprats on the market.

0:26:310:26:33

I have bought a bass and some plaice.

0:26:330:26:35

And Nigel has bought the Dover soles we needed.

0:26:350:26:37

So we are getting there, it has begun.

0:26:370:26:39

It is the sheer range of fish in this market

0:26:390:26:43

that makes Josh's ambitious business viable at all.

0:26:430:26:48

Right, now, that large bass, then. That large bass, ten on the bass.

0:26:500:26:53

What sort of fish you can buy in Brixham market you can buy near

0:26:530:26:56

enough anything you want, really.

0:26:560:26:58

I mean, we have got a massive diversity of fish here.

0:26:580:27:01

I mean, turbot makes the most money.

0:27:010:27:03

Your large turbot. And your Dover soles, they make good money.

0:27:030:27:08

Hake, at the moment, we have a lot of hake from...

0:27:080:27:12

And that is underrated, I think.

0:27:120:27:14

I mean, you won't taste any better than hake, I mean...

0:27:140:27:17

Beautiful fish.

0:27:170:27:19

The boom at Brixham market isn't just about foreign sales.

0:27:240:27:28

We Brits are consuming more and more fish,

0:27:280:27:31

spending over £4.5 billion on them annually.

0:27:310:27:35

There are over 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK.

0:27:380:27:42

The posh ones might even be serving hake.

0:27:420:27:45

And an amazing 20% of us indulge at least once a week.

0:27:450:27:49

And most of our towns still boast a fishmonger or two,

0:27:520:27:56

despite the aggressive advance of the supermarkets.

0:27:560:27:58

Right, left a piece of twos, 10.80 again.

0:28:010:28:04

A little bit expensive.

0:28:080:28:11

Back at the auction,

0:28:110:28:12

and one buyer who knows all about both fishy businesses

0:28:120:28:16

is Matt Endacott - owner of a fishmonger's,

0:28:160:28:20

a fish and chip shop and a smokehouse too.

0:28:200:28:24

He is a familiar face at the daily market.

0:28:240:28:28

On the mackerel side, no, unfortunately,

0:28:280:28:30

this isn't enough on quantity-wise for the commercial side of the

0:28:300:28:34

smokehouse, but for retail, that is ideal for the counter.

0:28:340:28:39

For Matt, the auction is essential to the survival of a family business

0:28:390:28:43

that has been going for nearly 100 years.

0:28:430:28:46

Matt lives and works 15 miles from the market

0:28:580:29:01

in the town of Newton Abbot.

0:29:010:29:03

He is the third generation of his family to run Jackson Limited,

0:29:030:29:08

keeping the family legacy alive in the last remaining shop.

0:29:080:29:12

The family, as a whole, has been involved

0:29:150:29:19

with the fishing industry since 1922.

0:29:190:29:22

The original founder of Jackson Limited was a gentleman called Cecil

0:29:220:29:26

Jackson, who would be my great uncle.

0:29:260:29:29

He founded it a number of years ago,

0:29:290:29:32

along with some other fish shops within the area,

0:29:320:29:34

and this is the one remaining one nowadays.

0:29:340:29:38

Two salmon, please.

0:29:380:29:39

I do remember my mother asking me if I could lend a hand

0:29:410:29:43

and help my father for a couple of weeks.

0:29:430:29:46

Subsequently, 24 years later, I am still here, helping out.

0:29:460:29:51

The business isn't just his legacy, it has become his life.

0:29:510:29:55

This job is cold, wet, and smelly, it is incredibly long hours,

0:29:550:30:01

but there's something about being

0:30:010:30:03

in the fishing industry that's addictive.

0:30:030:30:06

Just behind the fish and chip shop

0:30:070:30:09

and fishmongers is Matt's smokehouse.

0:30:090:30:11

There is a definite art to smoking,

0:30:140:30:15

I learnt certainly a good 90% from my father

0:30:150:30:19

who obviously instigated the whole process in Jackson's.

0:30:190:30:24

Currently we've got some haddock fillets which has been sourced

0:30:240:30:27

from Brixham and is being cold smoked naturally,

0:30:270:30:31

ready for the consumers.

0:30:310:30:33

Fantastic being part of the fishing community.

0:30:350:30:37

Obviously we do go back generations and most people know of my father

0:30:370:30:42

in Brixham and or my great uncle.

0:30:420:30:44

The sense of family tradition is strong.

0:30:460:30:49

But the new venture of the smokehouse

0:30:490:30:51

is partly a response to the modern threat of supermarkets,

0:30:510:30:56

by making unusual products that they don't.

0:30:560:30:59

The motto of the company is anything that's edible can be smoked.

0:31:000:31:04

So we have core products of salmon, haddock,

0:31:040:31:07

cod but we also do niche products for anyone's demands.

0:31:070:31:12

We do many wacky, wacky things and on the trolley that's actually just

0:31:120:31:15

come out round the corner there is actually three Mars bars.

0:31:150:31:19

But we've also tried Pringles, peanuts,

0:31:190:31:21

salts, we do actually do smoked salt

0:31:210:31:24

quite regularly for some people as well.

0:31:240:31:27

The tag of being known as the guy who will smoke anything

0:31:270:31:31

is a bit of a compliment really,

0:31:310:31:32

because like I say if it's edible, we'll give it a go.

0:31:320:31:36

While smoked fish is as popular as ever,

0:31:360:31:39

the processing is expensive and margins are increasingly tight.

0:31:390:31:44

Because I go to the auction every day,

0:31:440:31:46

I'm able to monitor the prices of what the fish made the day before

0:31:460:31:51

or the week before.

0:31:510:31:52

When you buy fish for smoking, certainly from Brixham fish auction

0:31:520:31:57

the overriding sort of criteria is price,

0:31:570:32:01

it has to be of a certain price for us to be able to process

0:32:010:32:04

and pass on to other people.

0:32:040:32:06

The next thing is the quality,

0:32:060:32:08

it's got to be of a reasonable quality,

0:32:080:32:10

because if you start with poor fish,

0:32:100:32:12

you will just end up with poor smoked fish.

0:32:120:32:14

Over the years, Jackson's has used Brixham market

0:32:220:32:24

to source almost all of its fish.

0:32:240:32:28

And today very little has changed.

0:32:280:32:30

Morning, morning lads. Set up going OK?

0:32:320:32:35

This is our wonderful display of fish,

0:32:370:32:39

which Roy sets up every day and a good 90% of it coming from Brixham.

0:32:390:32:45

I personally go to Brixham every Monday to Friday

0:32:450:32:48

which are the auction days and source all this myself.

0:32:480:32:53

It's early mornings, but it is good camaraderie.

0:32:530:32:58

Back at the market, and the auctioneers are shifting

0:32:580:33:01

a lot of fish fast.

0:33:010:33:03

Right, now, that small stuff, then, £7? I've got £7, ten?

0:33:030:33:07

£5? £5 buy ten, buy ten, buy 20? 20, 30. 30, 40.

0:33:070:33:13

70, 78, 80, 89, 90, 99. 8.90.

0:33:130:33:19

I'm looking for some mackerel.

0:33:190:33:21

Matt will need his wits about him

0:33:220:33:24

if he is to get everything he needs today.

0:33:240:33:26

Whoops!

0:33:280:33:30

Matt, I've known him for quite a few years,

0:33:300:33:33

his business dropped down to Matt from Dollar Jackson,

0:33:330:33:37

as they used to call him, the nickname was for the old man.

0:33:370:33:41

Janet, as I call him, Matt, Jackson,

0:33:410:33:44

as I call him Janet - Jackson -

0:33:440:33:47

I do have a laugh with him every day on the market.

0:33:470:33:50

Yeah, he's all right.

0:33:500:33:51

30.

0:33:530:33:54

With three different businesses to cater for,

0:33:540:33:57

Matt has a long shopping list.

0:33:570:33:59

Mackerel and white fish for smoking, and prime fish like turbot,

0:33:590:34:04

bass and monkfish for the shop.

0:34:040:34:07

Fives. How much for those?

0:34:070:34:10

One box and three pieces of fives.

0:34:100:34:13

But he needs to get it for the right price too if he is to keep the

0:34:130:34:16

Jackson's business viable for the future.

0:34:160:34:18

First up for grabs are some monkfish tails,

0:34:230:34:25

a good luxury item for Matt's shop.

0:34:250:34:27

Right, now that's small monk, £6 on that small one.

0:34:270:34:30

-Seven.

-£7 by Jackson. 7.10.

0:34:300:34:34

£7, Jacko. Seven, Matt.

0:34:340:34:37

It is a result for Matt who snaps them up at £7 a kilo.

0:34:370:34:41

Next - some tub gurnard,

0:34:410:34:44

a firm white fish that is good for grilling and stewing.

0:34:440:34:47

Bit of a cheap alternative to cod.

0:34:470:34:49

That's 350 on them tubs. £2 on them tubs.

0:34:490:34:53

-150.

-I've got 150 by Jackson. 160? 150, Jackson.

0:34:530:34:57

They're a real bargain at just £1.50 a kilo.

0:34:570:35:01

That's 3.4 kilos, mate.

0:35:010:35:03

Matt's delighted and marks them up with a Jackson's tally.

0:35:030:35:07

But he's still got a lot to buy and not much time left to buy it.

0:35:080:35:11

I've got 150 on these.

0:35:110:35:14

I've got a pound by everybody now.

0:35:140:35:16

Sorry? By Jackson 160.

0:35:160:35:18

Jacko at 150.

0:35:180:35:21

Good purchase for the shop, we now have got a little bit of prime monk,

0:35:210:35:25

a nice bit of flatfish dab and also a few more tub gurnards.

0:35:250:35:28

Prices were good, happy with the price, not bad for a Monday morning.

0:35:300:35:33

Everyone's feeling the pressure, though,

0:35:330:35:35

and all have businesses to buy for.

0:35:350:35:38

It's an auction, so even though we're all pretty good friends

0:35:380:35:42

down there, we're all working within the same industry,

0:35:420:35:44

there is always a little bit of rivalry because you are bidding on a

0:35:440:35:48

person next to you to try and win the fish.

0:35:480:35:51

Fellow fishmonger Tracy is one such rival.

0:35:510:35:55

And she and Matt are about to lock horns over some pollock.

0:35:550:35:59

Todd starts the bidding at £3.50.

0:36:010:36:05

That pollock, then, 350.

0:36:050:36:07

-I've got £3 by Jackson.

-Matt's in at £3...

0:36:100:36:14

-Yeah.

-3.20.

-..but immediately gets outbid by Tracy who wins the fish.

0:36:140:36:19

310. 310, Trace.

0:36:190:36:24

But it's all fair in love and pollock

0:36:240:36:26

as Matt puts Tracy's tally in the box.

0:36:260:36:29

You can on days not win the bid

0:36:320:36:35

and if there is another fish there to fill the order,

0:36:350:36:37

you can leave the market a bit

0:36:370:36:39

dejected because you possibly let someone down.

0:36:390:36:42

If Matt keeps losing bids, it's the business he'll be letting down.

0:36:420:36:48

But now he shows a bit of canny opportunism...

0:36:480:36:51

750 on that number four monk.

0:36:510:36:54

-Pounds.

-Michael Jackson, 710.

0:36:540:36:57

£7, Jacko.

0:36:570:36:59

Snapping up some monkfish at a bit of a bargain price.

0:36:590:37:03

Well, funny thing is what happened there was the auctioneer put it up,

0:37:030:37:06

the price seemed just about right, it's good-sized monk,

0:37:060:37:09

almost a little bit undervalued, so I purchased it.

0:37:090:37:13

Now we'll see if we can get the bass.

0:37:140:37:17

But he needs to stay focused.

0:37:170:37:18

Less than an hour left and some crucial fish still to buy.

0:37:190:37:23

Including the elusive sea bass.

0:37:240:37:27

-I can't see!

-And the bass. What would you like for the bass?

0:37:270:37:30

6.50.

0:37:310:37:33

£7.

0:37:330:37:35

Todd tries to get £7 for the bass.

0:37:350:37:37

Right, we've got 6.50 by Jackson, 660?

0:37:370:37:39

660, Jackson. Going for that.

0:37:390:37:41

-Please.

-But nobody else is biting, so Matt's scoops it up for £6.50.

0:37:420:37:46

A real bargain.

0:37:460:37:48

The prices today were good for us, certain things were very good.

0:37:520:37:58

Over here some nice monk,

0:37:580:38:00

needs a little bit of tidying up before we send it down

0:38:000:38:04

to the shop ready for the customer, but it's lovely and fresh.

0:38:040:38:08

Managed to get a few bass as well, not as many as I would have liked,

0:38:080:38:11

but we've actually got some for the counter as well.

0:38:110:38:15

Oh, best purchase of the day...

0:38:150:38:16

Ling. Traditional favourite, we can process this as well, smoke it,

0:38:180:38:24

this here was only 30p a kilo.

0:38:240:38:27

So by the time we fillet it,

0:38:270:38:30

there will be a nice margin in that for us.

0:38:300:38:33

The Ling is a good added extra for smoking.

0:38:330:38:36

So Matt leaves the auction with enough fish

0:38:360:38:38

to keep all three businesses going.

0:38:380:38:41

And ensure the future of Jackson's limited.

0:38:410:38:44

That's it. That's all the lot.

0:38:460:38:47

Right, let's go and do some squid now. Squid!

0:38:470:38:50

So what we got, we've got plaice and monk?

0:38:500:38:53

That's it at the minute, isn't it?

0:38:530:38:55

Matt's list might be done and dusted,

0:38:550:38:58

but buyers Josh Perks and his business partner Nigel Ward

0:38:580:39:02

still need fish for key customers of their

0:39:020:39:05

upmarket company Brixham Seafish.

0:39:050:39:07

And with the auction about to close, they've got to get bidding.

0:39:090:39:13

Josh's target is the top grade fish, size one.

0:39:150:39:19

And he's just made a catch that he's delighted with.

0:39:200:39:23

So I've just brought a box of number one plaice off the Pamela Gill,

0:39:230:39:28

I know that was only fishing over the weekend,

0:39:280:39:31

so the plaice is super fresh and perfect size for us.

0:39:310:39:34

Right, now that bass. What would you like for the bass, then?

0:39:360:39:39

I've got 6.50, 6.60?

0:39:390:39:41

£7 by Gordon, 7.10.

0:39:410:39:42

710 by Brixham.

0:39:420:39:44

7.20? 7.10, Brixham at 7.10.

0:39:440:39:47

Now the bass are in the bag too.

0:39:470:39:50

So that's something else that I can tick off my list this morning.

0:39:510:39:55

If you look at this, it's all scribble now,

0:39:550:39:57

Constantly having to listen out as well

0:39:570:40:00

to see what the auctioneer's selling.

0:40:000:40:03

With just a few fish left to catch, Josh crosses over to the other

0:40:030:40:07

auction for the last vital purchase on his shopping list.

0:40:070:40:11

Scallops!

0:40:110:40:13

-How many?

-50, John.

0:40:130:40:15

Scallops are a staple on many of Josh's restaurants' menus.

0:40:150:40:18

So he needs to get as many boxes as he can.

0:40:180:40:21

Same again, John. 5.50, Brixham, 5.60?

0:40:230:40:25

550, Brixham.

0:40:250:40:28

I will take four, please. Four boxes to Brixham.

0:40:280:40:32

With that last flurry of buying complete, Josh's work is done.

0:40:320:40:37

I had a list of different species I wanted to buy for different

0:40:370:40:40

restaurants, as the market's gone on I've ticked them off my list because

0:40:400:40:45

I've managed to buy them.

0:40:450:40:47

Probably my best buy of the day would be these red mullets.

0:40:470:40:51

They're in season at the minute, super, super fresh.

0:40:510:40:56

Today I bought...

0:40:560:40:58

Looking around, I've got to get it all together, but about 50,

0:40:580:41:02

60 boxes of fish, and that probably comes to about £8,000 to £10,000.

0:41:020:41:08

In the next two to three days,

0:41:080:41:11

all that fish will be sold and

0:41:110:41:12

we'll be buying more fish from this market.

0:41:120:41:15

Josh's fish will be served up on silver platters

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around the country in the coming days.

0:41:180:41:20

But he still has one last delivery to make to a very special customer.

0:41:230:41:28

This is a giant spider crab.

0:41:280:41:30

We don't get them that big down here and I know my friend down the road

0:41:300:41:34

absolutely loves them, so I've bought it as a present.

0:41:340:41:38

Josh's friend is renowned seafood chef Mitch Tonks

0:41:380:41:41

who runs a chain of prestigious restaurants in the South West.

0:41:410:41:45

Whenever I'm on the market, I'm always keeping my eye out

0:41:470:41:50

for little things that I know he loves.

0:41:500:41:52

-He's a massive seafood lover.

-Did it in a little bow for you.

0:41:520:41:56

Little bow! It's like it's my birthday!

0:41:560:41:58

-That's a great spider crab. Fantastic!

-Caught today.

0:41:580:42:01

-That will be lunch for me. Bit of mayonnaise.

-Excellent.

0:42:010:42:04

-Awesome. You're a star, Joshy.

-You're welcome. You're welcome.

0:42:040:42:07

Without Brixham fish market, Brixham would just be another seaside town.

0:42:070:42:12

As the auctioneers survey the empty market,

0:42:130:42:16

they can reflect on an amazingly successful day.

0:42:160:42:19

Over 100 tonnes of fish sold for nearly £350,000.

0:42:200:42:26

-Prices all right, Johnny?

-They were, mate.

0:42:260:42:28

-Good prices today, mate.

-Yeah, very good.

0:42:280:42:31

It's tougher news for fisherman Matt Ould...

0:42:320:42:34

who's just found out how much his day's labour has earnt him.

0:42:360:42:39

A little bit disappointing.

0:42:410:42:43

It totalled out at £224.

0:42:430:42:47

One day it can be a bumper market,

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other days it can be rock-bottom.

0:42:510:42:54

They just don't want it and they're not going to pay for it.

0:42:540:42:57

They'll still buy it, but they're not going to pay for it.

0:42:570:43:00

£224 isn't much for a day's work

0:43:000:43:02

when you have the cost of owning and running a boat.

0:43:020:43:06

But generations of Matt's family have survived the ups and downs

0:43:060:43:10

of the fishing game and he intends to do the same.

0:43:100:43:13

And just along the quay,

0:43:180:43:19

the boats are already unloading for tomorrow's Brixham market.

0:43:190:43:23

In just a few hours, the bell will ring

0:43:250:43:27

and the auction will begin all over again.

0:43:270:43:31

The sign outside reads 'The World Famous Brixham Fish Market'. It's been here for over a hundred years, and business has never been better. They're currently turning over around £30 million a year - more than any other English fish auction. Over 70% of the fish they sell goes abroad.

It's a tough life for auctioneers John Rogers and Todd Crombie, with 4.30am starts every week day. 'We don't get much kip', say the pair drily. For sellers like fisherman Matt Ould it can be a tough life too, with prices always unpredictable. He has just spent £100,000 on a new fishing boat and needs to make £400 a day to cover running costs and pay himself a decent wage. Buyers at the auction range from traders like Josh Perkes, spending thousands of pounds a day on fish that will go to his many high-end restaurant clients, to smaller local businesses like Jackson Ltd which has been in Matt Endacott's family for nearly 100 years. Matt has a fish and chip shop, a fishmongers and a smoke house - and needs to buy enough fish, at the right prices, to keep all three businesses going.