Morecambe Bay Brown Shrimps have been caught by local fishermen from Flookburgh, Ulverston, Bardsea and along the coast road to Rampside for hundreds of years.
Shrimps in Morecambe Bay are found just off the fast running water of a channel, and also in “Gutters” and “Dykes” that feed into the channels. When the tide goes out the width of these areas decreases and the shrimps gather together.
Brown Shrimps were traditionally fished using a “hand net” between three to six feet wide on the end of a pole, which fishermen pushed out in front of them into shallow water. This method produced only small catches and meant that the deeper channels couldn’t be fished as there was a danger of being swept away by the strong tidal currents. Horses were then employed as they were both much stronger and heavier, allowing them to venture into the deeper channels. They would pull a cart with a shrimp net behind, which could be now 10 feet wide or more.
In the mid 20th century tractors started to take over from the horse and a trailer was attached to a rope up to two hundred metres long. The wheels were set so that when the rope was pulled with the tractor running along the waters edge, the trailer would go into the water at depths the “Hand Net” on a horse and cart could not go. The tractor could also pull two nets, up to 15 feet each, at the same time, giving a much larger catch.