Traditional Cornish Oyster boats, part of the Port of Truro Oyster fishery, the last oyster fishery in Europe harvested under sail.
Open ended cages are dragged through the silt to harvest the Oysters. The cages are tipped out onto trays built along the inner rim of the hull where the silt is washed out the stern leaving the Oysters behind.
Its not hard to cast your mind back in time to when the background of the picture would be void of modern boats. The two in the foreground may date back as far as the 19th century.
When Richard Carew wrote the Survey of Cornwall in 1602, oysters were being caught using dredges “a thick strong net fastened to three spills of iron, and drawn to the boat’s stern, gathering whatsoever it meeteth lying in the bottom of the water, out of which, when it is taken up, they cull the oyster and cast away the residue, which they term gard, and serveth as a bed for the oysters to breed in.”