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

Left about fifteen minutes late due to the Filling Station again.Rebooted it three times to no avail and the trip to Inverness was a little quicker than I would have preferred. Weather on the Hill not bad but you would know it was winter.

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Stop off into Fraser Auctions to pick up a rams head poker and made it to the AGM just after its start, missing very little.

As I am writing this a day later in Glasgow it has been great to look back on such a varied and really positive day. A couple of down sides in Inverness was hearing about the squid fishery on the East coast catching lobsters, fetching a poor market price as they are either dead or dying. Also many of them are prime females carrying berries, you do despair. The other downer was hearing about a Gairloch trawler towing of Barleyport with an Irish skipper and Romanian crew. Coastguard called up for tow as they had their own net and some one’s creels in his prop. He should not have been there as it was closed and of course he is destroying some one’s livelihood while he is at it. We suspect no prosecution and that allows these bullies to carry on. Another story of an email threat from a scalloper seemingly ignored. The threat was I am coming to tow and shift your gear or I will shift them for you. That is a breach of the peace but again nothing done. And it is always the same story, we are not all bad but there is always a rotten apple….easy solution is to bring back the three-mile limit, it used to work and can again. The meeting was extremely positive despite these idiots. There has been a huge amount of work done to get the Federation to where it is now. Financially healthy and now a voice that government listens to, and hopefully doing something about our problems. We did not have one before, it remains to be seen if they carry out any of our wishes. Managed to get a bit in about Applecross Community Company and our problems regarding Di minimus with the broadband. It was Richard Lochhead, himself , who brought the subject of broadband up. I was not just spraying the minister with problems. Did manage to bring up local government or lack of it as well and suggested for some people Independence would just be moving power from London to Edinburgh. Good to hear a politician who is in power try to explain his policies and aspirations. Got a bit of a buzz to hear him bring up the Common Weal. Bit of hilarity when one of the representatives wanted more fishermen and their voice being heard at the Inshore Fishing Conference being held in Perth. He wanted fewer people with Fairisles and beards, at which point most of the room looked across and saw a beard and a lopi, it was a close run thing. The guys mentioned something not complimentary about trawling and got several different kinds of laugh.

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We had a good wee session on berries as well and again the three-mile limit. Great to hear a buyer’s view on berried langoustine and lobster. Very few buyers talk the way James Cook does. Alistair was telling us about his own experiments on returning prawns to the seabed and catching them again, proving survival rates are high and it is worth returning the berries. James  sounded like he wanted to be buying sustainably caught produce in the years to come and was not into a short-term cash in. Good to know he is treasurer of the Federation. Fishermen from all round the coast of Scotland were there today and although we we did not agree on every thing we did not fall out over anything and were a lot stronger by the end of the meeting. It was accepted that there were different problems in different areas where the solutions are going to be locally worked out solutions.

So then it was just a case of meeting up with Alison and trucking off down the A9 in the wind and rain, getting to the hotel with half an hour to spare, into the taxi and to the Oran Mor. Absolutely stunning music followed. Shelley Morris opened with lots of loving stories about her own life as an Aborigine in the Northern Territorries. Sweet lady with a strong and emotional voice. Seems she was up for Aussie of the year but came to Glasgow instead. She was a perfect lead in to Raghu Dixit. What a night, warm, loving, personal and self-effacing and his music stunning. With both Shelley and Raghu there was a common double theme, the first part was where is the sun and the second which gave you a little pride in where you are from. They told us several times about the warmth of their welcome and reception, both touching their chests in appreciation. Good to feel one comes from a part of the world where friendship and acceptance is important. Headed back, pizza, and kip. One thing is not missed back home  is fast food outlets……mind you the Inn is pretty fast. Back home now but glad I wrote some of these posts on the Ipad as I have already forgotten so much of a packed exhilarating weekend.

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