Supplier Hero - Johnny Murt, Padstow

Murt’s Shellfish was set up by the Murt family to better market their catch.

Fishing from Padstow for four generations, they currently have 3 vessels targeting lobster, crab and spider crab out of the pristine waters of North Cornwall.  Their vessels are very low impact, inshore vessels of under 25 feet long, each worked single handily.

They work with a number of restaurants locally and in London, delivering quality shellfish daily.  With the current restaurant trade non – existent we have teamed up with Johnny and will have him visit us every Saturday (2.30pm) to bring you the freshest and tastiest shellfish off the Padstow seas.  Johnny usually brings some fresh fish too, but all is dependant on the catch.  You will see Johnny set up in the car park by the farm shop entrance.

Check out Johnny’s fishing trips on Instagram – click here.

Catching a Lobster

Traditionally, lobster pots were made from willow, however today they are constructed from steel with a nylon net. It is also necessary to have some bait, such as dead fish or raw chicken, to entice the lobsters into the pot.

All traps should have an escape hole for smaller lobsters, and a biodegradable panel that will allow any trapped lobsters to escape, should the pot get lost.

Once the pots are correctly labelled, the bait is set and the marker buoy is attached, the pots are lowered to the seafloor.

Lobster pots are checked on a regular basis, from every few hours to every couple of days. The pots are hauled up, emptied, re-baited and lowered again. Any lobsters that don’t meet the regulations are then returned to the sea, with the remaining catch brought back to shore.

The Murt family have always had sustainability at the heart of the business.  Potting, by its very nature, is a highly selective method of fishing. Lobster and crab which do not meet the minimum landing size are immediately returned to the sea unharmed along with shellfish which does not meet their quality standards.

They are signed up to the Fishing for Litter Scheme – removing any litter from the sea that they encounter.

Finally, they work closely with the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow and they help by supplying berried hen lobsters (pregnant females), and helping with occasional juvenile lobster releases.   Murts Shellfish encourages its customers to sign up to the Buy One Set One Free programme, so 50 pence from each lobster sale is donated to the hatchery to help with the production of more juvenile lobsters.