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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 20:32 GMT
Anchovies joy for local fishermen
Anchovy dish
Devon chefs are delighted they can source the anchovies locally
Fishermen from Devon are celebrating an unexpected windfall after catching hundreds of tonnes of anchovies.

Crews in Brixham have been making ten times more from the anchovies than they usually earn for less valuable catches.

The fish are most commonly found in warm seas like the Mediterranean, but shoals started appearing off the Devon coast a few months ago.

"It's deep joy, because the catch is worth considerably more than sprats or herring," skipper David Hurford said.

Warmer waters

Trawler agent Rick Smith told BBC News: "I've never seen so many anchovies as they've caught this year - several hundred tonnes.

"Indeed between Boxing Day and the New Year, they caught nearly 30 tonnes."

Restaurants chefs, who try to use local ingredients, have said they are delighted they can now serve anchovies without having to source them from abroad.

Jim Portus, from the South West Fish Producers Organisation, said the most likely explanation for the anchovies appearing off the Devon coast was mild weather and warmer waters.

But he added the majority of the anchovies will not be sold in the UK, but exported to Spain and Portugal, where the fish are normally caught.



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