Live AIS VesselTracker

Track the Newlyn fishing fleet at sea.

powered by vesseltracker.com

Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Last of the Hunters - 1986 fishing documentary



This 29 minute extract covers the first half of a documentary screened back in 1986 when everyone thought the sea was full of fish and would last forever! The documentary went to sea with some of the biggest names in each sector at the time. Two family families feature in the guise of - Andrew Bremner aboard the Boy Andrew the the brothers Andrew and Willie Tait who at the time shared command of their latest purser the Philorth fishing alongside another boat in their fleet, the Chris Andra - Trerry Taylor represents the English fishing effort at the time with his stern trawler Maureen June.

The story starts with Andrew Bremner who was one of the top white fish skippers in the UK at the time - when fishing with the seine net was the preferred method of catching big trips of fish. He was well know for his willingness to push his boat and crew to the limit when fishing inhospitable waters around Rockall where he made huge hauls of haddock - which helped him gross over £1 million pounds in 9 months!  Worth noting is the fish handling practice of the time of 'cementing' the boxes of fish together in the fishroom (12:50 minutes in) - use of wooden boxes pre-dated  plastic stacking boxes and they were heavily over-filled and covered with ice - not the best way to keep cod or especially haddock in top condition for the filleters! The boxes needed to be cemented together to cope with the violent roiling of the boat in poor weather - Andrew Bremner was one of those skippers that sailed from his home port of Wick at midnight on Sunday - no matter what the forecast!

The Tait family fished with three purse seiners for pelagic fish like herring and mackerel under the watchful eye of father Andrew Tait - before mid-water trawling became more proficient with the introduction of net monitoring technology.  The bigger boats in the fleet were capable of catching well over 500 tons of fish in a single shot. 

The entire Scottish purser fleet at anchor in Mount's Bay, New Year 1980

The family and their exploits are well know to the older generation of Cornish fishermen as them and the entire Scottish purser fleet would descend on Cornish waters every winter in the late 1970s and early 80s chasing the huge shoals of mackerel.

English deep-sea skipper Terry Taylor is featured in the full version of the movie - he fished with one of the largest of the UKs fishing vessels the Maureen June - one of the big stern trawlers form the East coast ports of Hull, Grismby and Lowestoft.