Fish Market changed over to the "Moby Clock" electronic fish auction
system in 2003. This system was completely new to the Westcountry,
but widely used in small ports around the western region of
Brittany, Pays Bigouden.
Nodding or shaking of buyers' heads is now
replaced by the touch of a button at Looe. As the mobile `clock'
moves from lot to lot, buyers hold a remote radio linked bidding
panel, while they look over the boxes of fish and watch the auction
screen as they make their bids.
now (relatively!) quiet auctioneer sits on a small, electric powered
three wheeled truck with excellent turning ability that supports the
flashing auction screen. The truck moves around the market floor as
each `lot' of fish is sold, very similar to a traditional shout
Auction company Looe Fish Selling Ltd and
Looe Harbour Commissioners jointly secured the new Moby system,
costing more than £150,000, from Aucxis Trading Solutions of Belgium
and Delta Scales.
The system was financed with the aid of a £90,000
grant from Objective One funding, with research and development
assistance from the Sea Fish
Plymouth fish market has had an electronic fish
auction for some time but this is a gallery type auction, where
buyers view the fish first, make notes and then move to a separate
bidding room for the electronic auction, well away from the chilled
Looe is a much smaller port, selling mainly day
caught fish from small trawlers, netting boats and line fishing
boats, where the highest EU quality level of E (excellent) is
electronically `attached' to almost every box of fish.
Heugh Symons Heads a team that
chose the Moby clock system in preference to others. "In my opinion
this system brings fish auctioning into the 21st century."
Buyers bid by pressing a button on a radiographic
transmitter. If 2 or more buyers bid the clock will rise until only
one bidder is left - this is the French auction system.
The auction is generally faster than the
traditional shout auction and there are major benefits for boats and
buyers after the sale as the paperwork is instantly available.
"The auctioneers, buyers, fishermen and Looe
Harbour Commissioners are very serious about this port. If greater
profit comes from the new auction system, than that is very good
news. We are expecting more buyers to come to Looe because of the
Moby clock system. But without grant aid we would never have been
able to afford such a system."