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

Wednesday afternoon; In between shifts, that is done the fishing bit and soon to be at the Inn being nice to people. Last couple of days at sea, although tiring were good for the soul. Not much activity on the Sound regards fishing. Reflection on how much is being caught. A slight improvement has been noted over the two days, nothing to write home about but in the grand scheme of things, okay. Very settled weather, glass calm most of the time, perfect working conditions. Mid morning yesterday watched a small pod of porpoises head north out from the Bay and up the Sound. May have been the “dolphins” spotted earlier in the day. I always get a little miffed when I hear of these sightings after the event and no wonder, when you do see them they take you to another world. Although they were not travelling at speed they were aiming for somewhere further North and did not hang about. It is these sightings that make the job even more special than it already is and brought to mind a blog I had read a week or so ago.http://smallscales.ca/2014/05/21/mikmaq-traditional-knowledge-eels-and-the-bras-dor-lakes/ A fascinating read and always get a little wistful in that this is how I would like to relate to fishing and not be so caught up in the cash side of things. How many langoustine have you caught, how much they are and is the market okay etc etc…….not the important stuff about the health of the stock, getting the most out of it, only catching as much as you need, that is a difficult one I grant you. Ones needs are almost indefinable. My retiring accountant reckons I make no money and must be poor and in relative terms I am but when you are catching enough even when the fishing is not good how can you be poor. I would rather take the Mi’kmaq view on how they took from their eels, sustainably cropping, and using all of the eel. On the same lines I came across an article on Twitter about how the nephrops in the Clyde are now being affected by a dinoflagellate parasite. http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/clyde-prawn-fisheries-on-borrowed-time-says-study-1-2945231. Read this a few years ago that the North west prawn stocks will be in danger due to the spreading of the parasite and seemingly it is under way. There is an obvious argument against the way we treat the sea in that we have almost got things done to a mono crop, that is we have got the conditions right for a spread of the parasite. My understanding is that the parasite is endemic but as the nephrops get infected they become sluggish and are picked off by their predators. We unfortunately have done away with most of them and now more and more prawns are becoming infected. The question to be answered is what is the commercial stock that is going to provide employment for the small west coast communities after the prawn fishery. Maybe pessimistic to ask the question but what fishery has survived in modern times. The fact that I caught a haddock today, the first of the year, a fish once plentiful in these waters, also contributes to the argument that we are not doing it right. A study taking place in Loch Duich, article in last week’s WHFP, confirms that prawns put back in the water do survive. I have already posted about this as studies have already proved this both in the Clyde and Loch Torridon, although for some reason Marine Scotland remain sceptical about the survival rates of the returned prawns. The potential ramifications in the WHFP article do not make any sense in that it is suggested that prawn trawlers could replenish areas with the smaller prawns in their catch. The studies of trawled prawn survival rates have passed the article by….les than 50%. And why would you destroy a habitat by trawling for nephrops to replace them somewhere else at a 50% at best mortality rate. Surely some mistake here. Get the trawl to leave the grounds and then the creel men can put back the sizes 4+ and berries in the knowledge that they will survive and thus enhancing the sustainability of the fishery.

Anyway back to the unpractical world of which there is a lot of here at the moment, yesterday morning quiet and still


and again in the evening when I jumped on the bike and took Dougal and granny out for a wee run to the top of Craig Darroch.





Eildh, Dougal’s mum was seeing the vet  as she has had a limp for a few weeks now and is not clearing up. Turns out it may be a shoulder/arthritic problem but not too serious. On the way in from fishing yesterday noticed a gathering on one of the rocks off St Island.


I know it is a parliament of owls but I think these cormorants look just as serious.


Sunset last night was above average too.


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