People have commented to me that I rarely mention fish or fishermen. I suppose it’s true but it’s by pure chance. You get to the fish market from the far end of the Old Esplanade, at the opposite end from the Shore-combers. The front is divided up, the Shore-combers have the middle section, next to them heading up the estuary are cockle-pickers, and on the other side are the long-line fishermen.
Yes, the three groups can work in each others’ territory, but it’s by agreement. A Shore-comber will ask permission to go in among the long-lines. If permission is granted, he can wander among the lines but mustn’t touch them and can be asked to hand over a tenth of what he’s found. Similarly anybody wanting to put a long-line down on the Shore-combers’ area will probably be allowed to, but will be shown an area that has already been worked over so they’re not in anybodies’ way, and of course, they’ll be expected to share their catch. The same sorts of deals are done with cockle-pickers as well. Boat fishermen will come in with the tide and unload their catch along with the long-line fishermen, because it’s handy for the market.
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