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It was good to see the fishing getting some TV publicity

It was good to see the fishing getting some TV publicity once more through the Trawlermen series. I have had a few emails from fishing associates and general members of the public all saying how much they have enjoyed the start of a new series. We live and work in a dangerous environment as can be seen on the series of Trawlermen, but it always takes a tragedy to make us just be a bit more aware that anything can happen at anytime and that you have to be very alert at what is going on around. It is not always bad weather that things can go wrong. Living and working on a fishing vessel is just so different from working onshore and it takes good team work for everyone to be looking after one another. I had an e-mail from fisherman working the Irish sea saying that my problems and... Continue reading
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I have had a letter from the BBC

I have had a letter from the BBC saying that there is no date yet for the new series of Trawlermen. As the Olympics are about to start soon that will keep the television schedule busy for a month or so. I will blog the date as soon as I know. On Saturday, I was in the village of Gardenstown (Gamrie) as it was there harbour gala day and what a fantastic sense of community spirit from the very young right through to the senior citizens. The harbour is the heart of the village where all the young boys start to learn the the basics of fishing with the creel boats before the progress to the larger fishing vessels in Fraserburgh. All the new entrants to the fishing industry from the village are given all the encouragement from the locals as they see investing in the young lads is the future.... Continue reading
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We have been dodging bad weather since Saturday evening

We have been dodging bad weather since Saturday evening. What that means is we take our fishing gear onboard and stow securely, then head Amity into the wind and waves at little more than 2 knots until the storm passes through. Winds were gusting in excess of 50 knots with a heavy swell bearing down on top of us. There was no comfort at all as we were waiting for the storm to abate. We also have to be very careful onboard whilst we make tea and eat hot foods as we could be hit at any time with a large wave causing everything on the table to be spilled and if you are not careful could be burned with scalding water etc. Even now on Monday we are still feeling the after effects of the storm as the sea swell is still quite lumpy and uncomfortable. And this is supposed... Continue reading
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I am still surprised that people read the blog

I am still surprised that people read the blog. I have also been told to get out of the doldrums - that is easier said than done. I feel responsible for the crew and families of my crew who have been with me for many years. They actually become an extension of your own family as we live, work and sleep onboard Amity. When your earnings are cut by half and it is outside your control, I wonder where this will eventually lead. We live in an ever changing world and it is the uncertainty of the future that can sometimes take you away from your comfort zone. I hear on the news that bread, milk etc all up 30% over the last year yet we have had no price increase on our shellfish. If anything, there is rumour of a decrease in price. May I dare say that must be... Continue reading
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I have not written a blog for a few weeks

I have not written a blog for a few weeks. The main reason being there is little to report other than the price of diesel is slowly destroying our industry. It has been a funny year so far with the prawn fishery not coming on in its usual pattern. Scarce fishing and high fuel prices are not a good combination. My crew are still with me and for that I am grateful as, like me, as a skipper/owner they are feeling the true cost of world oil in there wages. I can no longer afford to catch an average trip, every trip has to be a good one as there is not enough money made to keep the business on an even keel. I may have to look at alternative fishing opportunities but then available quota may be a problem. In 22 years as a skipper, I have never seen times... Continue reading
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After licking our wounds we are now back at sea

After licking our wounds we are now back at sea. We checked our gear over and found one or two abnormalities in the set up. A chain two inches out here and another four inches out there and before you know it, your gear is not performing 100%. We also put on a new set of warps, so there is no excuses this trip. I am confident that the trawls are coming along the seabed at the correct angle. I have a few readers who regularly keep a check on the blog, one in particular a retired fisherman from Inverness,Jim Harrison. Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement during these very turbulent times in the fishing industry. I hope you are keeping well. I am off soon to help the mission during Fishweek in Pembrokeshire in Wales. I have been invited to give an audience on Sunday evening 22nd June... Continue reading
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On Sunday we had an incident at sea

On Sunday we had an incident at sea. Whilst hauling our nets, the propeller gearbox did not disengage resulting in the codend being sucked into the propeller. I had to put out a call for assistance. It was answered by the Peterhead registered Daisy who had to tow us 125 miles back to port. Luckily, there was no damage to Amity and the codend was repairable. The weather was good and the fishing is steady. Once again my crew lose out on lost fishing. The weather for this week ahead looks very unsettled as a summer storm passes through. With the high price of fuel and bad weather resulting in slacker catches. will it be worth going to sea? I now go to sea as a fisherman not to catch and land fish, but to catch and throw fish back into the sea. I can no longer land hake, which I... Continue reading
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I have been absent for a few weeks

I have been absent for a few weeks but there has not been much to report other than high cost of diesel oil. It is now getting to a serious situation where it is taking 50% of the value of our catch to keep Amity fishing. That in turn means that Amity and her crew are earning half of what they were this time last year. It does not take a genius to work out that trend cannot continue. My biggest fear is that my crew will have to leave to seek work in another industry where the pay is in line with the work they do. It is a situation that is way out of my control but I must continue to dig in and try and weather the storm. I hear many people talk of the price of food going up in the supermarket. If there are to be... Continue reading
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Today's 'Day Dawn' reads

Today's 'Day Dawn' reads "Where there is no vision, the people perish" Proverbs 29:18 Never has that been a truer saying. Without focus and vision we are going nowhere. No longer is fishing about catching only. It is now about catching in the most cost effective manner. My crew are now talking about where we are going regarding the escalating price of diesel and my answer is into uncharted waters. History has shown us through time that our forefathers went through similar changes. They had to make the change from coal-fuelled steam drifters to diesel power. I would imagine in those days that would have been a big transformation. we do not have an alternative yet! We can only wait and hope that the value of out catches goes up in tandem with diesel. Some of my colleagues have decided not to put to sea this last week as it was... Continue reading
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I have been to Brussels Seafood Exhibition recently

I have been to Brussels Seafood Exhibition recently. It is a world showcase of seafood and I am proud to say that Scotland in my opinion was up there among the best in the world. Seafood Scotland was giving samples of Cullen Skink and some other seafood from Scotland to the passing visitors and it was one of the busiest areas in the exhibition arena. The Seafood Scotland team including all the chefs worked tirelessly for the three day event putting Scottish seafood very much on the world map. Last week I was speaking at an event called Grampian Food Forum where suppliers, hoteliers and restaurateurs come to promote there local produce. It is such a simple way for suppliers to meet and network amongst new potential customers. It has been running for a few years now and they meet about tree times a year. I was very impressed on how... Continue reading
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