Tuesday, 29 September 2015

What's in the Catch?

Very much part of the community - skipper Phil had the boat blessed by Mission skipper Keith Dixon when she first came to the port.

The Channel 4 series The Catch is doing a lot to restore fishermen's reputation after several years of unfair and generally ignorant media criticism that undoubtedly damaged the industry's reputation. Following the fortunes of the boats and crews of the netter Govenek of Ladram, the beamer Our Miranda and the scalloper Van Dijck, the programmes so far have provided a realistic, and rounded picture of what it means to earn your living from the sea.

This is no picture postcard portrayal of fishing. The discomforts and dangers are made evident but so is the excitement and comradeship, the highs and the lows of the men and vessels engaged in catching the fish that feeds the nation. The inherent gamble that is involved in share fishing as co-adventurers on every trip, the pressures, the personalities, the commitment and determination are portrayed sympathetically but fairly and accurately.

Above all, the series captures the real human beings who are engaged in this enterprise. The crews' sympathetic treatment of bewildered deckie learners, the constant balancing of risk and reward by skippers, conveys a reality that dry statistics can never do. People who watch this series will at least begin to understand what lies behind the appearance of monk, sole, hake, turbot and scallops when they appear in the fishmongers, or on their plates. And that is a very good thing.

Along with the scientists' recent confirmation of the very positive general stock trends in our fisheries, this series makes me hopeful that we have turned some kind of corner.