Cardigan Bay Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) was established in 2012 with the aim of supporting the fisheries sector and fishing communities within the Cardigan Bay area. The group is administered by a lead body, Ceredigion County Council, with a Board made up of industry members, public, voluntary and academic representation.
The objective of this microsite is to raise awareness of the rich heritage of the fishing industry around Cardigan Bay and how it continues to make a very real and positive impact on local communities through to this day. All photographs in the Industry Images section of the site, along with the Videos, are free resources to those who wish to use them to promote the local fishing industry and are available upon request.
Given its long coastline and numerous rivers and streams blessed with fish, Cardigan Bay boasts a fishing industry well established for many centuries. With such a rich and colourful history, the timeline and bullet points below - along with the bibliography at the bottom of the page - offer a brief introduction to the wealth of history waiting to be discovered.
Compiled during the 12th and 13th Centuries, references to fishing in Cardigan Bay are made in the Mabinogion, with Gwyddno Garanhir and son, Elffin, collecting £100 worth of fish from a Cored (fishing-weir) on the River Dyfi, north of Aberystwyth.1150
In 1206, the Chronicles of Welsh Princes states Aberystwyth boasts “such abundance of fish that their like was never heard of”.1206
By the end of the 14th Century, scattered references are made to the Cardiganshire fishing industry, with ports in Aberystwyth, Aberporth and Cardigan credited to be exporting fish to both British ports and as far afield as Madeira and the Canaries.1400
By the early 16th Century, Aberdyfi had developed into the main herring fishing centre for Cardigan Bay and described by one contemporary as a “grate trade of ffishinge and moche resort yerely at Michaelmas for herring”.1500s
In 1732, 113 bottle-nosed dolphins were driven into crevices in rocks at Aberystwyth, with the local people profiting greatly from their blubber, which was held in high regard and deemed superior to that brought from Greenland.1732
In 1861 it was claimed that the Teifi had developed into the “headquarters of coracle fishing”, with 300 in operation along the river in Llechryd, Cenarth and Cilgerran.1861
1895 saw the banning of the “Shot fawr” seine net fishing on the Teifi estuary – whereby a seine net would be placed from one bank of the river to the other.1895
In 1925, 102 hundredweights of cockles are gathered on the Dyfi estuary, near Aberdyfi.1925
1986 sees the retirement of ‘Coracle King’ John Davies – the last licensed coracle fisherman on the Teifi. His retirement brings a 1,000-year-old tradition to a close.1986
Please feel free to look through our collection of images - both past and present - of the fishing industry of Cardigan Bay. You are able to request high resolution versions of the non-historical images to use in your marketing promotions.
The images below are reproduced with permission from the National Library of Wales
Incorporating traditions that are centuries old with the use of modern equipment, the selection of videos below give a snapshot of how the fishing industry operates in Cardigan Bay today. All videos are available upon request.
The list below offers a brief introduction to some of the wealth of information available on Cardigan Bay and its fisheries:
|Bowen, E.G. ‘The Celtic Saints in Cardiganshire’. Ceredigion Vol 1. No.1 (1950)||Challinor, John. ‘Geological research in Cardiganshire, 1842-1949’. Ceredigion Vol.1 No.2 (1951)||Davies, J Ceredig. ‘Brittany and Cardiganshire’. Industrial Transactions and Archaeological Record, Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol.1 No.4 (1914)||Davies, J.R. ‘Lon Lacs’. Ceredigion Vol.3 No.3 (1958)|
|Davies, Terry. Borth: A Maritime History (2009, Llygad Gwalch)||Evans, Emrys. Dal Pysgod (1989, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)||Evans, Robin. Merched y Môr (2013, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)||Evans, Robin. Pysgotwyr Cymru ar Môr (2011, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)|
|Jenkins, David. ‘A Borth Shipwreck’. Ceredigion Vol.1 No.2 (1951)||Jenkins, J Geraint. ‘Llangrannog’. Ceredigion Vol.3 No.3 (1958)||Jenkins, J Geraint. ‘Rural Industry in Cardiganshire’. Ceredigion Vol.6 No.1 (1968)||Jenkins, J Geraint. ‘The Maritime Heritage of some Southern Ceredigion Villages’. Ceredigion Vol.9 No.2 (1981)|
|Jenkins, J Geraint. Maritime Heritage: The Ships and Seamen of Southern Ceredigion (1982, Gomer Press)||Jenkins, J. G. ‘Penbryn Beach’. Ceredigion Vol.9 No.4 (1983)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Cockles and Mussels (1984, National Museum of Wales)||Jenkins, J Geraint. The Inshore Fishermen of Wales (1991, University of Wales Press)|
|Jenkins, J Geraint & Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd (ed.). Cardiganshire County History Vol.3 (1998, University of Wales Press)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Llangrannog: Etifeddiaeth Glan Môr (1998, Cyngor Cymuned Llangrannog)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Ar Lan Hen Afon (2005, Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion Cyf.)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Ceredigion: interpreting an ancient county (2005, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)|
|Jenkins, J. Geraint. The Coracle (2006, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Welsh Ships & Sailing Men (2006, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)||Jenkins, J Geraint. Life & Tradition in Rural Wales (2009, Amberley)||John, Harry. The Maritime Heritage of Cardigan Bay: Book 2 (1988, Dyfed County Council, Culture and Heritage Scheme)|
|Jones, David Lewis. ‘Aberaeron’. Ceredigion Vol.6 No.2 (1969)||Jones, Elisabeth Inglis. ‘Memories of Old Cardiganshire’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.1 (1960)||Jones, Gwilym. ‘Aberaeron Landmarks’. Ceredigion Vol.1 No.1 (1950)||Kramer, Maria. ‘Cardigan and The River Teifi’. Ceredigion Vol.7 (1972-5)|
|Lewis, W.J. Born on a Perilous Rock (1980, Cambrian News)||Lewis, W.J. ‘Some aspects of the history of Aberystwyth’. Ceredigion Vol.3 No.4 (1959)||Lewis, W.J. ‘Some aspects of the history of Aberystwyth (Part II)’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.1 (1960)||Lewis, W.J. ‘The Anchor Smelting Company, Aberystwyth 1786-1792’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.2 (1961)|
|Lewis, W.J. ‘The condition of Labour in mid-Cardiganshire in the early nineteenth Century’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.4 (1963)||Lewis, W.J. The Gateway to Wales (1990, Dyfed County Council)||Matheson, Colin. ‘Wales and Sea Fisheries’. Welsh Outlook Vol.13 No.10 (1926)||Matheson, Colin. ‘Notes on the Mammals of Cardiganshire’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.3 (1962)|
|Merchant, T.H. ‘Aberystwyth Harbour Since 1925’. Ceredigion Vol.4 No.3 (1962)||Morgan, Gerald. Ceredigion: A Wealth of History (2005, Gomer)||Owen, Bob. ‘Ymfudo o Sir Aberteifi i Unol Daleithau America o 1654 hyd 1860’. Ceredigion Vol.2 No.3 (1954)||Saunders, I.J. ‘Trade & Industry in some Cardiganshire towns in the Middle Ages’. Ceredigion Vol.3 No.4 (1959)|
|Smylie, Mike. Working the Welsh Coast (2005, Tempis)||Williams, Moelwyn. ‘The Port of Aberdyfi in the 18th Century’. National Library of Wales Journal Vol.18 No.1 (1973)|