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

Yesterday was spent fishing in the eye of a depression.

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The forecast, if you wanted, was a bit dodgy and there was a land breeze from the east in the morning but it turned out to be a calm and productive day.

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First job in the morning was to head into the Pier and unload the “German writing” fleet and take on board a newer cleaned set.

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Headed north and put the fleet together on the way out. Generally I have something to do for just about every minute when I am on board as just steaming for place to place is fine but I find it more tiring than work. Pleasantly surprised by the catch today. The quality is not too bad and despite the large numbers of berried prawns returned the quantity was okay as well. Nine berried prawns went back from one creels. Working around 50% returned in quantity but by weight as the berried females are smaller maybe 30%. I tend to be more accepting that other fishermen do not put them back, more so than a northern visiting fisherman who was at the Inn on Thursday evening. he took the stance that he just could not understand why fishermen landed the berried prawns. I do not know about potential imbalances of female/male structure of the stock if we all put them back. but I had to agree with him if not quite so forcefully as he was putting it. As far as I know there are only two establishments that do not buy berried females, The Applecross Inn and the Loch Ness Inn. Also we have had other guys on board Sam from London and Ian from Edinburgh who agreed 100% with not selling them. It will have to come from the buyers if it ever to become part of the fishery. I suppose  am fortunate that I cover some of these “loses” by landing the squat lobsters.

Back to the weather and there was, how do you say, plenty of it going on. Lots of showers drifting by,

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good to watch especially as they passed mainly to the south. On the way in, after hauling 400 creels, I looked up from tailing numerous squats and noticed a couple of porpoises lazily making their way across the Bay. Nipped in for the camera but was not really close enough. However looked around and saw a cracking rainbow to the east across the Bay and very close to the boat.

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That and the soundless flight of a passing gannet makes the day more than a job.

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An encouraging sign in the last few weeks has been a re-emergence of some immature haddock on the grounds. For a while there were none to be seen and you were starting to wonder if they were following the hake in their local demise. This little one returned and swam off.

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“Noo, noo, loons [boys], stop that. Divn’t ye ken whit Peter said till the haddock when he took it aff the bait and left his thoum [thumb] mark on it? He said: ‘Roast me and bile me but dinna burn ma beens [bones], / In case I grow scarce aboot your hearth steens [stones].'”  From a Hamish Henderson collection. The origin of the St Peter’s thumb print I know not. Have only seen a couple of draggers out on the Sound this year. Not scientific to put the two together and come to a concise conclusion but may be connected.

Thursday evening at the Inn there was a new edition to the Applecross dog population, a cute little terrier from the North Coast called Russel.

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Sunset was not too bad either.

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