Well, it is a while since I last sent a blog in - what has been happening in the last few months?
Quotas are running out as we near the end of another year. Will this save any fish from being caught - the answer is no. If I go out to catch my main species, which is langoustine, then I will catch other species as a by catch and I will have to throw them back in to the sea. This, in my opinion, is such a waste of a valuable resource. I have no licence to catch cod, coly or hake in the North Sea and I will have to throw them away.
Fuel prices have fallen back the last few months but not as much as we would like to see. As the dollar gets stronger, it appears we loose out on any price cuts at the pier.
Amity was on a 3 week charter as a guard ship and this will save us using days at sea and quota. It is a valuable exercise as we are running out of opportunities to go fishing.
There is not enough fish in the system for the fleet to survive in my opinion. A few years back, the fleet was near cut in halve with decommissioning and the outlook was very bright, but over the last few years, the powers that be have cut away and slashed our available quotas until we are now fighting for our survival again.
If cuts are what the EU wants then they MUST seriously consider removing some of the catching power in order to allow the remainder to stay viable. As the system has squeezed vessels out of the whitefish sector into the shellfish sector, I now see this sector having too much effort put into it and now fear for oversupplying the market place pushing the price down.
As we are working hard to keep our businesses viable we cannot allow the price of our product to fall. This industry is working to a price range that we were seeing more than 10 years ago.
Long term this will do more damage as we struggle to see young blood join our industry.
Over the weekend Saturday/Sunday the weather was very bad. We had to stop fishing and ride out the storm. It is when you have to be patient while the weather passes by. There is not much you can do onboard as you are rolling and pitching like a cork in a boiling kettle. Even as you lay wedged into your bunk there is no comfort as Amity takes a heavy roll and near throws you out of your bunk onto the floor.
We take a chance on Sunday morn before dawn breaks and shoot the gear. It is blowing in excess of 40 knots but I expect the weather to improve before it is time to haul later in the morning. As the day goes on the weather slowly improves but here we are on Monday morning and once again another weather front approaches and the wind is picking up in excess of 30 knots again. The outlook for the rest of the week is more of the same and long range outlook is for very strong Northerly gales.
The fishing is not so good as it is just not weather for fishing we are stealing a chance to fish between blows, but the objective is to try and get a wage for my crew for there efforts. Sometimes it is like living in a time-bomb as the pressure of the job never leaves you. If we are not fighting for or survival in regards to quotas and legislation, we are fighting the elements of mother nature who I have found after 32 years fishing the North Sea can be very nasty when she flexes her muscles! She must be a woman (you can never be sure what she will do next).
Opportunities for catching fish are being exhausted very quickly as we near the end of another quota year. I as a fisherman would dearly love to see this quota year shifted to say April, the reason being if we are to run out of quotas then we would not be fishing when fish are spawning. That sounds like common sense but it appears we live in a regime that is not even common!