West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin (PGI)
‘West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin’ is the name given to Salmo trutta fish species which have been caught using the ancient Welsh traditional method of coracle fishing. This produce, which is interwoven with the Welsh river and seascapes, was awarded PGI status in 2017.
It is mesmerising to watch the small handmade basket-like coracles being steered through the water by a single person using a rhythmic singlehanded sculling method. It is easy to imagine this as an ancient tradition as it is almost mythical to behold – indeed it was first recorded in the 11th century and has been a cottage industry in West Wales since the 1800s. However, despite being a historic practice, coracle fishing was the earliest known form of trawl fishing, so it has been influential in shaping 21st century fishing methods.
Coracle fishing involves a pair of coracles made from ash and willow, working together with a net suspended between them. Fishing using this method takes place mainly at night to prevent the sewin seeing the shadow of the coracle or the net coming towards them as they return to their spawning ground. Fishing by coracle in darkness takes immense skill, and the two fishermen must work together in perfect harmony. Coracle fishing for sewin is only legally allowed on the Taf, Tywi and Teifi rivers in West Wales.
Sewin, or Welsh sea trout are migratory fish which can live in both fresh and saltwater. They spawn in freshwater and live for the first few years in the rivers before returning to the sea in early spring each year to feed and grow. Remarkably, after approximately 2 years, they will return to the river where they were born to start the cycle all over again. “West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin”are unique as they are caught as soon as they enter the river systems from the sea in low and tidal waters of the river.
The fish have superior developed muscle quality resulting in firm flesh with a dense texture. They have a visibly elongated athletic shape, without excessive fatty deposits resulting from their lengthy swim whilst at sea and the high-quality feeding grounds available to them. When cooked, “West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin” has a soft subtle distinctive “buttery” taste with slightly “nutty” undertones and has a unique soft & clean fresh flavour.
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