A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Good day at sea although the catch was not as good as hoped and it was a difficult end. I took the plunge and hauled the fleet of creels that had been towed by the trawler last week. I knew it was trouble when I came across the buoy well out of position on the GPS from when I had shot it. Sure enough when I lifted it I had to sort out a ball of 50 creels. The guy must have towed the fleet until it stopped him. These hours of hard graft sorting out some one else’s careless or malicious mistakes are certainly character building and there is not much point in getting stressed out. We know who towed the gear, we know when he did it but there is nothing I can do to get any recompense. Ashore if these activities took place there would be a court case but at sea we do not seem to have any protection. I have even been told that I should not have creels there by trawlermen and it is my fault that they are towed away. This is on ground my father and grandfather have fished on and is within sight of the school my four boys have gone to. Even if it costs sometimes you just have to stand up for what you believe.

I have been thinking quite a bit about the state of the fishing due to the ongoing politics, trawlers towing gear and the general decline of the stocks. Because I have three fleets of creels beside a no-fish zone I am in favour of a series of them being instituted up the west coast, obviously relying on research to work out where in particular they should be situated. These three fleets have consistently fished better than any of my other fleets and I can only surmise that this is because I am beside  a no-fish area.

It is unfortunate that our only protection is from unintended consequences in that we are protected by a European mobile ban in the lochs on the west coast which is in place to protect juvenile herring. This gives us a six month respite from the prawn trawler. Also the no fish zone is actually a torpedo test range which is closed off to all fishing effort. One often sees Trident subs steaming by and you do wonder about the sanity of our ‘leaders’ but that is for another day.

The scale of these ships are such that my little fishing boat would be dwarfed by the tail fin of the Vanguard and I always think that they look so sinister. The Range has been in place now since the mid 1970s and although it was met with opposition from local fishermen at the time I am now convinced that as long as it is there I may be able to continue fishing despite the continued pressure on the stocks. We have the Range on our GPS and I shoot the creels back along the outline of the Range. It is a shame that we have to rely on outside factors that defend our stocks. Why do the politicians not look at the science and take measures that protect the little guy who is fishing in the most sustainable way. But we have to change our methods as well to minimise our practices. The problem with most if not all fishermen is that we tend to blame every one else rather than look to ourselves as the cause of the problem. Although I may be very wrong in that way I look at the survival of the fishery I do believe my views are backed by both the science and what is happening on the fishing grounds.

Tuesday evening saw us at the Community Hall for a Community Council meeting where it just seemed to be an unremitting battle to try to keep services. Medical,elderly care,bin collection,housing, all critical issues that need to be sorted out for the continued wellbeing of the community. We shall see. Needed a couple of shifts at the Inn to get a better perspective on things. Just meeting people seems to settle things and having a bit of banter and chat with people from all corners of the world is as important as anything. The competition goes on with Brazil, Croatia, Morocco and Cyprus all arriving at the Inn. We are now on 48 countries who have visited the Inn.

Comments on: "The frustrations of fishing" (6)

  1. richard spoors said:

    Hello after just having another weeks stay at the inn i stumbled across your blog….and very interesting it is too……but your local politics is just the same as here in herefordshire…..thanks for the Halibut….

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I used to think Applecross was unique and all the problems were just ours to sort out but they are universal rural difficulties. Glad you got the halibut on sunday and sorry never saw you before you left. Not working till wednesday and having the fishing going on means I am a bit of a moving target, which at the moment helps.

      • richard spoors said:

        glad to have met you……do you drive an Audi A6 in blue as iam sure that i saw you on the hill !
        we in herefordshire are starting to utilize or disused water mills with small hydro units . sensible use of ‘free’ energy but the goverment puts allsorts of ‘problems’ in the way such as an extractium licence……but the water goes back in after 2 foot of hydro use…….Glad to have met you…..we hope to return in the new year

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        No its a Renault Traffic. The hoops for the hydro are long and not helpful. I understand the need for some regulation but so much public money is wasted in unnecessary stuff. We are not stopping as we see it as aw way to turn round the decline here. We are extremely grateful having a n Hotel like we do but survival after is just as important.

      • richard spoors said:

        well i waved at the wrong man……not for the first time !!
        Hydro power makes great use of a natrual resorce, which iam sure you have plenty off….Ha Ha Ha
        but do the resedents of applecross want there community to be a museum…..as if not than they must embrace change…..but the change can be at a pace dictated by those who want to be involved…….yes i would like to retire there but the community needs young people and they need avoidable housing…..which needs land to be built on………..all of which needs the help from your local lovely land owner….
        good luck

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        It is interesting what is happening at the moment. Two petitions are circulating, both from the same source. One is geared for the older folk and simply wants the status quo. That is fine but advocates slow death of the community and the other is one I could sign so it seems it is just a number gathering exercise. I suppose this is fair enough as some people have been shocked out of complacency and they do tend to over react in the short term. The petitioners do not seem to understand that the house is in danger of falling down while the garden looks lovely. I fully support the new paths,the walls,the refurbished church but if there are no kids in school what is it all about? Thanks for your interest.

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