Monday, 14 January 2019

Unskilled work? - a day in the life, Nereus INS172 prawn fishing in the North Sea.

Nereus INS172 fishing in the North Sea today.

It's not the worst weather to be at sea in - but it is near the limit that you can keep fishing safely. Added to the weather problems, skipper Terry Jack aboard the prawn trawler Nereus is finding his fishing business increasingly difficult to run as he struggles to get crew. Despite the excellent income that can be earned from fishing these days (down in Cornwall many young fishermen own their own homes with mortgages) what other career can do that for a young man in his 20s and 30s so easily these days?

The Fisheries Bill 2017-2019 is the first major piece of legislation for fishing in the UK for years...

and there is not a single mention of the word training in the bill, ignoring the current crisis in recruitment and the training of new entrants - despite the obvious problems the industry faces with regard to crewing in many areas.

Back at sea, good fishing for the day sees over thirty baskets of langoustine or 'prawns' come aboard which now need to be...

sorted, graded and the smallest tailed...

then boxed ready for landing and sale. All this while the boat steams back to port - and with roast beef on the menu the guys will be working fast and hard to enjoy a late supper before turning in for a solid night's sleep and sailing day in the morning.

Believe it or not, fishing is considered an unskilled job with regard to work visas for foreign nationals - this is not an issue for vessels that work outside the 12 mile limit - but for boats like Terrys that often fish grounds inside the limit it is a real issue and is making life extremely difficult - he and may others are fearful that they will not be able to continue without a huge recruitment drive in the UK for local crew!

A day at sea for the Nereus tracked by VesselTracker's AIS tool.

Anyone wanting to gain additional seagoing qualifications or enter the fishing industry in Cornwall can contact Seafood Cornwall Training.  Here is their January newsletter: