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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

For the Love of Fishing a blog written by fisherman David Warwick

A veteran fisherman will highlight the challenging, complex and sometimes dangerous nature of life at sea by tweeting an entire day aboard his trawler in a bid to challenge some of the negative perceptions which dog the UK fishing industry. The initiative, dubbed ‘Tweets from the Deep’ and organised by the National Federation of Fishermans Organisations (NFFO), will take place on Wednesday, 14 August during National Fishing Month* to raise awareness of the often dangerous daily tasks fishermen perform to put food on the nation’s plate.

I love being a fisherman.

The days are long and can be cold. The weather can be miserable and frankly scary. It’s no secret that it’s a dangerous job. Lives are lost by men just trying to earn a living; trying to feed their families.

Then there are the rules and regulations. Ministers who know very little, if anything, about the job of fishing make detailed regulations that often make little or no sense at the level of a fishing vessel.

On top of this it is a largely thankless task. Newspapers call us sea barons and pillagers, accusing us of plundering oceans for commercial gain. Yet the reality could not be more different.

Closer collaboration between fishermen and scientists has meant better data on fish stocks and the marine ecosystem. The industry’s views are now incorporated into the political and environmental process. Together, through the Fisheries Science Partnership, we carry out a wide range of studies looking at ecosystems and fish biomass in order to limit our impact and ultimately improve stocks.

After 70 years of incremental increases in fishing pressure, the scientists have since 2000 shown a dramatic turnaround. So, why do I love my job?

Well, clearly from everything I’ve outlined above, you simply wouldn’t do it if you didn’t love it. If we could provide a true image of the industry, you’d see it was made up of families and communities, close knit and humble, a fishing fraternity that takes pride in the fact it is providing food security to this island nation. And we are doing so in a sustainable and considerate way. I followed my father’s footsteps into this industry and I hope, if he chooses, my two year old son will do the same. Many of my fishing colleagues feel as I do and we are working hard to ensure the industry is there in the future for our children and our children’s children. And despite our tireless work in the wind and rain, collaboration with scientists and endeavours to become involved in the political process, ignorance is still rife.

‘Tweets from the Deep’ is a great way to show people what life as a fisherman is really like; to perhaps demonstrate the hurdles we jump through, the pressures we endure and the risks we take to put food on plates.

David Warwick will be tweeting aboard his trawler on Wednesday, 14 August to coincide with National Fishing Month (19 July- 26 August). 

People are being encouraged to follow the event at @NFFO_UK and put their questions to David using #FishTales.