A House of Commons Parliamentary Paper published in 1877 was a -

by Frank Buckland and Spenecr Walpole Esqrs.,
Inspectors of Salmon fisheries for England and Wales.

This report took statements from many fishermen and included some from Robin Hood's Bay. They were: :

Isaac Storm 1820-1888 and his cousin Isaac Storm 1824-1921 who were grandsons of Isaac Storm 1758-1824 and Elizabeth nee Hodgson. See Sutcliffe's photo of Isaac and his sons.
Mathew Cooper 1842-1914 and his brother Harrison Cooper 1819-1889 who were the sons of William Cooper 1796-1872 and Damaris nee Harrison
Benjamin Granger 1816-1890, shipowner and insurance agent, son of Benjamin Granger 1786-1860 and Elizabeth nee Tindale.

All five stated that the crabs were not so plentiful as in the past, and some particular points made included:

Isaac Storm 1820-1888 was said to have been a crab and lobster fisherman for 40 years. He reported that there were now 12 to 14 boats, with 2 to 3 men each, using from 12 to 50 creels per boat. The fishing ground extended 3 miles north, 3 miles south, and half a mile seawards.

Isaac Storm 1824-1921 said that 38 years ago only a few old men and young lads were fishing for crabs; now there are 12 to 14 boats here. Thirty eight yeras ago the Scarborough boats never came here but last year there were seven or eight, but he had known there to be as many as 20.

Matthew Cooper said he puts down 40 pots from the middle of April to the end of July. He believed the trawlers were the greatest injury they encountered in that they destroyed the food of the crabs. He had seen 16 trawlers in the summer, day after day, trawling for soles, whiting and other fish.

Harrison Cooper had commenced crabbing in 1837 and thinks crabs have been overfished. He complained that the Scarborough men were known to put their pots on the top of the Robin Hood's Bay men's pots.

Benjamin Granger confirmed what had been said by others including the belief that no crab should be taken unless it is 4ins or more, and that lobsters should be at least 4 1/2ins

Clearly the number of crabs and lobsters had fallen over the years yet it would seem that there was a thriving business to be done for about 4 months of the year.

A fairly up to-date picture is available in the report by North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee atBridlington in 2003. In the Summary of Fishing Effort it descibes the Potting Effort of Robun Hood's Bay as one of 5 boats, 8 men and 600 pots.


Imagery by Elizabeth