Remains of fish traps, Aberarth

Remains of fish traps, Aberarth

Climbing the Wales Coast Path northwards out of Aberarth, you can get a fine view of the remains of fish traps if the tide is out.

Fish traps – commonly known as goredau (or gorydau) – were used for many centuries, usually to prevent fish returning to deeper water as the tide receded. An 1184 document refers to fish traps at Aberarth and notes that this fishing method was ancient. The remains of goredau here are a scheduled ancient monument.

At least one of the traps in the Aberaeron area was still in use in 1903, when the Ayron Fishery Board reported that it had issued only one gored licence.

An article on current fishing methods in the Cambrian News in 1889 explained that stones from the beach at Aberarth were piled up in a crescent shape. The two points were higher up the beach. The central part, further out, had a sluice for the water to flow out. Salmon would swim over the trap at high tide and become trapped as the tide receded. There were four or five gored “owners” in the area, each paying £2 for a licence.

In 1893 the board charged Aberarth fisherman David Davies, known as Dai Catti, with unlicensed catching of salmon using a gored. The case was dismissed on a technicality.

There were many other fish traps along this coastline. A local labourer was fined in 1880 for taking salmon from the gored at Cilgwgan (midway between Aberarth and Aberaeron).

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