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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bristol Expo Fishing Show 2013

The GM7M vessel built by G. Smyth boats on display

Skipper Expo Bristol October 2013 Maria Campbell Fisheries student at Plymouth University

As a fisheries student, I am more akin to academic conferences, however my current research angle is taking me to the various coastal towns mainly within the SW but also the wider UK interviewing fishermen and talking to local people about fishing. So when I found out an industry expo was happening in Bristol, I jumped at the chance to meet skippers as they perused the exhibitions. So, I volunteered my time and I got in!

The Skipper Expo Int. Bristol Commercial fisheries show kicked off last weekend. Over two days, hundreds of fishermen from England and Wales passed through the event with over 75 exhibitors.

Just some of the 75 exhibitors

The Expo itself was a sensory overload of information on various aspects of fishing. From engines, electronics, safety equipment, creels and netting, to displays from various campaigns, e.g. Fishing for litter, management bodies, e.g. Inshore Conservation Authorities (IFCA) Devon and Severn, and the Marine Stewardship Council.

A GM7M vessel built by G. Smyth boats was on display in the hotel forecourt with the opportunity to board the vessel and talk to the designers. I learned of new creel design by both international companies and individual fishermen and family businesses designing their own via recycled materials. Succorfish, a provider of global marine and maritime monitoring systems were on hand to show me how their technology works and how it is being used for academic research and spatial analysis, an area I am passionate about. Being able to see real time information on a few screens while the designers take you through their application is not something I get exposed to often.

I had the chance to discuss map production with Tene maps, I spent a great amount of my time mapping information from the marine world and it was really interesting to see it on a commercial scale. As you walked into the arena, a poster displayed a photo of a fisherman who recently had a boat accident and was in the water for almost 45 minutes; he, for the first time had worn an FPD and talked of it potentially saving his life. The RLNI were there exhibiting the new FPD currently in use along with newly designed at sea gear in collaboration with Mullion Survival Technology. Seafish representatives took the time to guide me through footage of beam trawling in action and how new designs are helping the industry and discussed what they do to support the industry. Observing trawl door design, scallop gear set-up and gaining insights into engine design, maintenance and cost were fascinating.

A wine reception on the first evening included a fantastic fish supper, with an array of fish and fish dishes available. A toast to an incredible first day at the Expo! I thank Mara Media for such a great event in the SW, roll on Aberdeen 2014! I also thank them for the help I received in finding skippers to talk to regarding my research. I thank all the exhibitors and the fishers who took their time to answer all my questions and suggested further skippers to talk to. I think all I need to do now is get my own fishing vessel, well at the very least I learned enough about commercial fishing just to start thinking about it! As I sit here sitting on Plymouth Hoe writing this, watching some boats return from sea, I reflect on an amazing event in Bristol! Thanks Mara Media!

Arklow Marine Services
Audacious Marine Ltd
Bee-Jay Scallop Gear
Black Dog Marine
Brdr Markussens Metalvarifabrik
Caithness Creels
Carapax AB
Centa Transmissions
Coastal Nets Limited
C A Clase UK Ltd
G.T. Products

A big thank you from Through the Gaps to Maria for covering the show!