Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Cod, please, waiter — and compliments to Scotland’s fishermen

This story, written by Charles Clover appeared in the Sunday Times last weekend 

"David Milne, a trawler owner based in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, has seen many bad times in 38 years at sea. Now, he says, the future is bright. To prove it he took a party of people out to the fishing grounds to show them what has changed. Ten hours from harbour he pointed to the chart on the screen and said: “Pick somewhere.” He shot the trawl at the randomly chosen spot and pulled up 3½ tons of cod. His passengers were duly amazed. A decade or so ago Milne would typically steam out for 10 days to fill the boat’s hold with fish, anywhere from St Kilda to Yorkshire... read on!"

Go back in time to the year 2000 when Rick Stein's TV series Seafood Lover's Guide on BBC TV was being aired. In this episode he talks to a fish merchant in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast about cod - at that time there had been a huge fleet of boats making record breaking trips in the North Sea - and pair trawling and pair seining had become the de-rigeuer method of fishing for cod, haddock and whiting.  A Seafish paper,  Fishing UK; Past, Present and Future gives a good view of the changes that were and continued to be introduced from the 90s when the industry as a whole began to take on board the consequences of fishing effort vs fish stocks. It was the dawning of a new era in fishing as well as a new millennium.

Clip courtesy of Rick Stein's Seafood Lover's Guide BBC TV 2000.

Apologies to anyone wanting to see the clip - despite an acknowledgement to BBC Worldwide they had it taken down immediately! A shame, as the comments from the Whitby fish merchant and coble fisherman Richard Emerson a mile south of Flamborough Head featured in the programme were very apposite. Maybe there will be a chance to see a re-run of the whole episode on BBC3 or BBC4 in the future.