Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Fishing for the Future - aboard the Amity II

Here's part of an excellent fishalogue from Mike Warner's 'Passion for Seafood' telling of a trip aboard one of Scotland's great fishing ambassadors, Jimmy Buchan and the prawn trawler Amity II.

"Heading North, alongside the Aberdeenshire coastline, the weather casts a predictably “Dreich” and “Dour” picture. Swollen, cumbersome, leaden clouds balloon grotesquely and seamlessly downwards into a stark slate-grey sheet, occasionally picked out in white, as crests rise and fall in the seemingly, boundless expanse that is the Northern North Sea.
Thirty miles further on from my rail terminus lies my destination; Peterhead, the thriving, piscatorial hub of the Scottish East Coast. A still-vibrant industrial port founded on the trappings of the 19th century whale-oil industry, its lifeblood for over 100 years. When the whaling subsided and ceased to attract the investment, following progressive industrialisation, the Port became home to a vast Herring fleet, numbering at its peak some 500+ vessels, which in turn, after a sharp decline in Herring numbers, turned its attention to the pursuit of white fish, the result of which, led to its badging as Europe’s largest white fish port in the late 1980’s
The object of my visit: To trace the sea-to-plate journey of Nephrops norvegicus, – the Langoustine, the Norway Lobster, and to those enjoying the breaded tails thereof, Scampi.To the fishermen of Peterhead they are just “Prawns”.
Amity Langos
Amity Langoustines (Jimmy Buchan)
The man I’ve come to meet is Jimmy Buchan; an iconic, exuberant, larger than life character and Peterhead fisherman and resident. Some of you will recall, no doubt, his exploits, as filmed by a BBC film crew for the series “Trawlermen” My trip as suggested, has been planned around the story of his “Amity” branded Langoustines, (reflected in his vessel’s name – Amity II) but from the outset, I’m made aware, that this subject is merely an incidental thread to the enthralling, but deadly serious story that’s about to unfold in front of me.
Amity II
Amity II (Jimmy Buchan)
I get a text: “Have you ridden into town yet?” and at this point I confess the Aberdeen evening rush hour is hampering my onwards efforts to reach him. A call follows: “My vessel sails at 6.30 for her next prawn trip. Can you get to the Harbour by then? If so we’ll get you aboard for a quick tour before she puts to sea”  It’s all the incentive I need and with a knowing nod from my taxi driver, we speed on ahead and swing onto the Port’s Albert Quay with minutes to spare.
Jimmy’s there to greet me and without further ado, I’m ushered on board taking immediate care not to disappear down a hatch or companionway. Once aboard, it’s straight up to the wheel house and here, I’m introduced to Jimmy’s young skipper, Philip Reid who at 28 has been entrusted to the care of Jimmy’s beloved Amity II, having gained his Skipper’s ticket at the tender age of 23. I get a whistle-stop tour of the boat from top to bottom, wheel house to engine room, galley to fish room, sorting table and ice maker.

Read the full story here:
Follow Mike here @eastcoastavocet