After a busy few weeks, the shortlists for each category have been drawn up, and voting is now open

So now it’s over to you and it really couldn’t be simpler. Just visit: and place your vote.

Simon Evans

Simon Evans

Ten of the categories will be decided by you, our readers, while the remaining four – the Sustainability Award, Young Fisherman of the Year, Port of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award – will be decided by a panel of judges drawn from the fishing industry. You may only vote once per category, and the voting closes at midnight on 17 April.

Presentation evening

The finalists will receive their awards at a presentation evening held at Ardoe House, Aberdeen on 14 May, the day before the opening of the Skipper Int Expo. The evening will be hosted by comedian Simon Evans, and includes a drinks reception, sponsored by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, followed by a three-course meal with wine, and exclusive live entertainment.

Change of venue

This year’s event will be held at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, a beautiful four-star 19th-century mansion house in Blairs, Aberdeen.

For more details please visit:

New sponsor

We are pleased to announce that WASSP will be sponsoring the New Shellfish Boat of the Year award. 

This small New Zealand electronics company has become a global giant by helping fishermen to find their catch quickly and efficiently, and map their fishing grounds.

Multibeam sounder manufacturer WASSP Multibeam is wholly owned by ENL Group, New Zealand’s leading marine electronics company. Founded in 1945, and now with 75 years of experience, ENL Group has earned a solid reputation for outstanding service, innovation and supply of quality marine electronic products worldwide.

ENL’s presence in the global market – particularly with its development of WASSP Multibeam – was so strong that WASSP Multibeam joined forces with the global marine electronics giant.

While its head office is in New Zealand, at the heart of the South Pacific fishing industry, ENL Group and WASSP have also established an office in Maldon, Essex, meaning that its world-leading expertise is at the fingertips of the European commercial fishing industry.

Find out more about WASSP and its applications at:

If you would like to discuss sponsoring one of the remaining categories, please email:

Demersal Fisherman of the Year

Daniel Chamberlain Fair Morn BA 19

Daniel has been a fisherman since he was 16. He started on the Freedom BA 280, then moved on to the Aeolus, where he saved his skipper’s life. Skipper James Jack got caught up in a rope which took him overboard. Danny dived down and cut him free. Two years ago, Daniel became the skipper on Fair Morn BA 19. Since then he has ‘worked hard, looks after his crew and is always on hand to help others in the Troon harbour fleet’.

James Jack Bon Ami BA 104 

James has been a fisherman since leaving school, working in a family business until five years ago, when he decided to buy an older boat. Through sheer hard work, he has managed to upgrade twice, resulting in his current ownership of a modern inshore vessel.

“His knowledge of fishing is vast, from gear to engineering, electronics and just general problem-solving, to net construction.” He has also sat on the executive committee of the CFA, has participated in this, and has great knowledge of regulations.

Stuart Legge Golden Sceptre PD 50  

Skippering the Golden Sceptre, Stuart always has the welfare and safety of crew at the fore during his trips, and ecologically he has a desire to manage his catches and impact on the sea. Stuart takes the lead in everyday roles on the boat, which include the upkeep, organising other crew members, and making sure the boat is seaworthy and that the crew have everything they need.

From when he started as skipper, Stuart is to the core – at home and sea – a North Sea fisherman. He has dealt with crews from different cultures and succeeded in running a safe and harmonious boat. Nominees say that he is ‘one of the cleverest and most efficient skippers I know’, and ‘he really does excel in all aspects’.

David Milne Faithlie FR 220

David Milne has shown that he is a top whitefish skipper, with extensive knowledge of the fishing grounds both off the west coast of Scotland and in the North Sea. In more than 30 years as a skipper, he has demonstrated his skill at many types of fishing, including fly-shooting, single-boat trawling and pair-seining. During this time, he has worked extremely hard to meet extreme challenges outside of his control, while remaining dedicated to fishing, including taking delivery of two new whitefish boats. David is also chairman of the White Fish Producers’ Association in Scotland, a role in which he is highly thought of and well-respected.

Colin Mitchell Beryl BF 440

Colin has the reputation of not only being a very good fisherman, but his great interest in, and knowledge of, the quota side of things is a real help to others. He now sits on the SFO committee and is good at explaining the workings of the quotas to other fishermen. He has been at the fishing for over 34 years, and a skipper for most of that. He puts in a lot of effort and is always keen to help others if he can.

Pelagic Fisherman of the Year

Will Burton

Girl Rona TH 117

Will has been fishing for about 20 years. His father was a fisherman for 45 years before him. Will is the skipper of the Girl Rona and the coxswain of the Teignmouth lifeboat. About 10 years ago, the Girl Rona sank going over the bar into Teignmouth, half full of herrings. Will’s lifeboat training came into good use by making sure the skipper and the other two crew got safely in the liferaft.

Shellfish Fisherman of the Year

Sponsored by Peterhead Port Authority

Neil Barnard Rachel May LH 23  

Neil Barnard trained with his father-in-law, George Gray. He had always been interested in fishing, but when he started going out with George, he got the taste for it and has never looked back. Neil worked for seven years on the creel boat Telstar, before buying his first fishing boat, Gratitude (now Rachel May), from William Whyte. Rachel May will be sold in May, and Neil is currently having a new 26ft catamaran built by Audacious Marine. This is a massive achievement for the cove fishermen.

Stewart Poland Albatross BA 88 

Having been at sea for over 30 years, Stewart is a treasured skipper in the scallop sector. There are countless men who owe their knowledge and training to Stewart, and he is widely acknowledged for his professionalism, gentlemanly style and personal desire to see people do well and progress. His devotion to the industry and constant drive for improvement to scallop gear resulted in John Reid & Son Scallop Gear naming a dredge after him, and he now works for the company in its new warehouse.

Dominic Welsh J-Sea E 333

Dominic left school at 14 and worked on a crabber in the English Channel. He saved hard and bought his first boat, an Orkney Strikeliner. From there he went from strength to strength and now owns the J-Sea, an extremely successful scalloper. He has excellent leadership skills, is innovative in using selective fishing methods to succeed in an ever-changing industry, and believes passionately in encouraging youngsters to choose commercial fishing as a career. He has encouraged and mentored his crew, and has achieved everything through sheer hard work.

Fresh Fish Retailer of the Year

The Fish Shop  Camberley

A large selection of very fresh fish and seafood from selected fishermen in Cornwall, with very friendly and helpful knowledgeable staff. Described as some of the most passionate staff customers have come across, selling produce they’re proud of, they offer excellent advice. You leave the shop feeling excited about the produce you have just bought. Passion for food is everywhere, but this team show just what being passionate means.

Mersea Island Fresh Catch  Essex

Mersea Island Fresh Catch sells its fish from a stall on the jetty according to what has been caught. Often more unusual fish are available, such as gurnard, and the helpful friendly staff willingly prepare the fish and give ideas on how to cook it. To beat the queues, it’s now possible to place orders and have them delivered. “Locally landed fish served with a smile and a cheery word in all weathers! Mersea would be a poorer place without them.”

RX Fisheries  Hastings

RX Fisheries is a traditional wet fish and seafood retailer, with its fish being the freshest available as the shop is positioned directly next to the fishmarket. It has a wide variety of fresh fish and shellfish from local fishermen to choose from, with lovely displays, and is very helpful with filleting and preparation. “Lovely selection of fish, great customer service and communication – helpful to those less confident in fish cookery.”

World of Fish  Lowestoft

An extremely wide and varied fish selection including locally caught fish and shellfish, all kept in tip-top condition and always wonderfully presented. The friendly staff are extremely knowledgeable about the products, and will always provide ideas and suggestions about cooking and serving fish, including cooking tips. “Terrific range; consistent quality; fun front of house; value for money,” say customers, and, “A credit to your industry.”

The Sustainability Award

Sponsored by The Fishmongers’ Company’s Charitable Trust

Odyssey Innovation

Odyssey Innovation Ltd offers free net recycling solutions for polyethylene trawl and nylon gill-nets through its recycling partner Plastix. The net recycling programme has been developed to support both the fishing industry and conservation. There are no viable net recycling schemes in the UK, so most go to landfill. Plastix, based in Denmark, is the only specialist net recycler in Europe capable of dealing with our nets. The scheme also recycles rigid marine plastics. Net collection services operate at 16 SW harbour drop-off points, and nets are recycled from the Ocean Recovery Project, net-makers, beach clean groups, Keep Britain Tidy, the National Trust, and nets found during dive retrievals by Fathoms Free. Find out more at:

Fishing for Litter

Fishing for Litter has operated since 2004 in Scotland, creating a network of 20 harbours with over 300 fishing vessels registered to the scheme, and over 1,550t of marine litter has been collected. Participation in the project has grown over the years, and the amount of litter collected has steadily increased as it becomes a firmly established working practice.

Participating vessels are given bags to collect the marine litter caught in their nets while fishing (‘passive’ fishing for litter). Filled bags are deposited on the quayside, and harbour staff move the bags to dedicated skips for collection and disposal. There is no cost to the fishermen or harbours (beyond the time taken to collect the litter and place it in the skips).

The Wash brown shrimp fishery

The Wash on the east coast of the UK is one of the most heavily designated and protected areas around the UK coastline. And yet, a viable commercial fishery still operates. The brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) fishery has existed here for generations, but was given the ultimatum by the buyers that MSC certification would be needed as the outlets were demanding it.

Working together over several years, a team of organisations gained accreditation for the fishery ‘from the Humber to just short of the Thames’. The industry is still here, and the environmentalists are satisfied – a win/win situation.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sponsored by the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association

Selected by an industry panel, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced on the night.

Fresh Fish Processor of the Year

Rockabill NI

Rockabill NI was established in Ardglass in 2014 by the Rockabill group. The processing plant serves the needs of fishermen from Northern Ireland and Scotland, and enables them to supply products to Irish seafood processor Rockabill Seafood Ltd. Specialising particularly in processing whitefish and scallops, Rockabill NI also has offices in Kilkeel and Portavogie. The company is praised in nominations for the benefits that the business has brought to these ports, and to the fishermen. “Always good prices paid, and 24-hour care of the fishing boats that land direct to Rockabill. What I like best is that when you land to Rockabill, you land direct to the factory, which cuts out the middleman.”

Whitelink Seafoods Fraserburgh

Since James and Marie Sutherland established Whitelink Seafoods in 1974, when they started to buy and pack winkles in the garage at the back of their house, a continual programme of gradual growth, based on sustained reinvestment in the fishing industry, has seen the Fraserburgh company develop into both one of the leading processors in northeast Scotland and a major international company.

In addition to the Fraserburgh factory, where 180 staff are employed, Whitelink Seafoods has processing facilities at Newlyn and a production, sales and distribution factory in Boulogne, together with sales offices in Germany and Spain and a processing factory in Iceland.

Monkfish, catfish, ling, coley, tusk, pollack, cod, megrim, witches, squid, hake, turbot, prawns and scallops are the main species processed daily by highly skilled workers in Whitelink Seafoods’ Fraserburgh factory.

In 2019, Whitelink Seafoods took delivery of its fourth scalloper, Eternal Light, the company’s first new build, to further underpin consistent supplies of king scallops, which are processed for niche markets.

AGD Duff & Partners Aberdeen

Established for over 40 years, AGD Duff & Partners is a wholesale fish merchant, supplying to a range of customers including supermarket chains, hotels, restaurants and shops across Europe. Now run by Paul and Alex Duff, the company was started by their father and is a family business. It is a wholesale company, but now also has a shop where it sells fish directly to customers, and a fish and chip shop too.

Fish is bought by five buyers from the company direct from the Peterhead fishmarket every morning, before being taken to the company’s warehouse in Aberdeen, where it is processed before being sold to local restaurants and in the shop.

Downies of Whitehills Whitehills 

From a small shed/cutting room to a company now supplying customers both locally and worldwide, Downies has more than 150 years’ experience of selling quality fresh fish.

To ensure that only quality fresh Scottish fish is available to customers, Alan Downie specially selects fish at the local markets on a daily basis, buying seasonally to ensure that customers receive the freshest product at a fantastic price.

Once selected, the fish is quickly transported to the factory in Whitehills for processing by a skilled team. The company smokes its own fish, and its award-winning cullen skink is freshly made on site on a daily basis.

The factory is BRC, SALSA and MSC-certified, and processes fish for both retail and wholesale clients.

Service Company of the Year

Brixham Trawler Agents

BTA prides itself on outstanding service to the commercial fishing industry. Provision of services is given to all vessels landing their catch at Brixham, whether they are locally registered vessels, or from other ports in the UK or further afield.

This quality service is provided 24 hours every day (some exceptions), and includes: sorting and grading, a daily auction, settlements within 24 hours of market, fuel, ice, box washing, landing assistance, transport and overland.

In June 2019, BTA saw the start of the world’s first ever online clock auction. KOSMOS was developed by BTA with the auction company Aucxis.

Faithlie Trawl

Fraserburgh net-maker Faithlie Trawl is well-known for supplying all types of high-quality nets to existing and new customers, from the SW to Shetland. Personal recommendations, based on both the fishing performance of its nets and the minimal quayside maintenance required, reflects the high level of skilled workmanship and quality of material that goes into its nets. In emergencies, the company will go above and beyond to ensure you’re back fishing as quickly as possible.

In addition to supervising every stage of making a new net, Willie Hepburn, supported by an experienced team of net-makers, places great importance on providing a personal service to deliver quality products, with an emphasis on fast turnaround times.

Karl Thomsen

Karl Thomsen’s willingness and ability to work around vessel movements and requirements with his rigging services has been a valued service to the industry for 35 years. Customers say that nothing is a problem to this company, which will always go out of its way to get you back fishing as quickly as it can, wherever you are in the country. “Karl should be recognised for his services to the fishing industry.”

Fishing Port of the Year


Brixham prides itself on the excellent service provided to fishing vessels landing at the market, and the quality of the fish offered to the buyers.

During 2019, a new landing jetty was built, and the fishmarket continued to develop, seeing sales of £39.2m, making it the largest fishing port in England and Wales. There were also major investments, including the introduction of the world’s first ever web-based clock auction, an 11-port fish grading machine – the first of its kind in the UK, allowing Brixham to grade fish to the same grades as European competitors and compete with them on an equal footing – and a new fish box washing machine, capable of washing and stacking more than 400 boxes an hour.

Future investment plans include additional storage facilities, additional market and office facilities, and ongoing upgrades to berths. The long-term strategy is to not only look at continued developments for the fishmarket, but to develop the port by potentially providing a dry dock, and a Northern Arm to protect the harbour from bad weather.


Fraserburgh enjoyed a very busy 2019, with the largest turnover to date of £3.2m. Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners have continued to invest heavily in infrastructure to improve the services available to the fishing fleet, including the final phase of the ship-to-shore power provision project, which provides shore power and freshwater within easy access of all berths and improves the green credentials of Fraserburgh harbour by allowing vessel engines to be switched off while in port. The shiplift has also undergone extensive refurbishment and improvements. The Fraserburgh Harbour Masterplan was completed in 2019, and work will be ongoing in 2020 to develop the business case for the various refurbishment projects.

Funding from North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG) allowed the commissioning of access platforms for all berths at the shiplift, providing safer access to vessels for those working at the repair facilities. All of these projects have been instigated by the commissioners with the intention of improving the facilities available to all port users and, in particular, the fishing sector, the core business of the port.


After completing a £52m upgrade to facilities in 2018, the port has turned its attention to attaining the highest standards of quality and sustainability. Having completed accreditations with MSC and BRCGS, the port was the first to be awarded the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme. These quality standards were then complemented with the SEDEX Members’ Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA), ensuring compliance in labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics.

Peterhead port’s 2020 vision demonstrates an ethos to be an environmentally responsible business, reducing its carbon footprint and championing sustainability and renewable energy. These initiatives ensure that the port is positioned to serve future generations of fishermen.

Nominators said that the new fishmarket, and the maintenance around the harbour, make it second to none.


In a year of dramatic transition, Scalloway harbour continued to provide an extremely high level of service to the skippers and crews of local and visiting whitefish boats, even though the port’s previous fishmarket was totally demolished in the process of building a custom-designed £3m facility in the same area. In a seamless transition, a temporary chilled and insulated fishmarket was created inside an existing warehouse, which delivered in all aspects during a year in which whitefish landings at Scalloway exceeded £15m. Continuing to provide ‘service as usual’ in a very unusual and challenging situation represents a unique and largescale achievement by all associated with Scalloway harbour.


Scrabster harbour has invested over the years and built up a huge reputation for great service 24/7. When the local ice factory closed, Scrabster Harbour Trust was quick to apply for funding and build a brand new ice facility for the boats, which took eight months from start to finish. Scrabster is also situated at a dangerous shipping channel, the Pentland Firth, and all the employees of the harbour know the answers about how to navigate this. Scrabster harbour has never forgotten its fishing roots, and whenever you come into land, someone from the harbour is there to catch your ropes. Scrabster has also lowered its dues, showing commitment to the fishermen using the harbour.

New Boat of the Year 2019


Fruitful Bough PD 109

Built to a new round bilge hull design, the 22.3m twin-rig prawn trawler Fruitful Bough is powered by a Caterpillar C18 ACERT main engine driving a 2,400mm-diameter propeller through a Masson Marine 9.916:1 reduction gearbox. Auxiliary power comes from a Cummins QSL9 engine driving the vessel’s main hydraulic system and Cummins 6B gensets.

Good Hope FR 891

With the capability of twin-rig trawling for whitefish or prawns, as well as being equally suitable for either single-boat trawling or pair-seining, the 26.5m Good Hope is designed to deliver maximum levels of fishing versatility. Two sets of split net drums are positioned on the quarter under two single units atop the shelterdeck.

Tilly WD 3

Of 26.05m LOA and 6.75m, Tilly has the distinction of being the first new beam trawler to be built for Ireland. A Mitsubishi S6R2-T2MPTK main engine of 324kW @ 1,800rpm drives a Promarin 2,700mm-diameter propeller through a Masson Marine gearbox of 10.594:1 reduction ratio. Pneumatically operated, the hydraulically driven six-drum trawl winch is suitable for single purchase operation.

Virtuous FR 253

The 24m twin-rig prawn trawler Virtuous has a totally new hull form, including a high-profile, parallel-sided bulbous bow, and main deck layout designed to accommodate a new concept of aft bagging arrangement. Catches are worked up on the port side of the main deck, on which three split net drums are mounted forward.

Westro PD 20

The 21.2m Caterpillar C18 ACERT-engined twin-rig prawn trawler Westro features a selection of new ideas designed to enhance working efficiency and catch quality. These include all three trawl warps running under the floor of a wider wheelhouse, a catch-bagging arm and an evaporator-type fishroom refrigeration system.


Adenia LK 193

Of 69.90m LOA and with a beam of 15.6m, Adenia effectively features three continuous decks – main, shelter and forecastle, while a profiled boat deck extends aft of the rounded wheelhouse. In order to create maximum space when the crew are working on the midwater nets, Adenia’s trawl deck is slightly longer than usual. At the owner’s request, the 80t topline winch is located on the starboard side of the shelterdeck – an arrangement which keeps the lifeline as low to the water as possible, to promote catch quality by making it easier to spill fish back to the bag.

Charisma LK 362

Designed for pumping pelagic fish over the stern, the 75m Charisma features 11 RSW tanks with a combined capacity of 2,350m3. The midwater trawler is fitted with 28 items of AC electric-drive deck machinery, delivering an aggregate core pull of over 600t. Catches of blue whiting, herring and mackerel are transferred from the bag aft to the separator unit amidships by one of two electric fish pumps. A retractable Brunvoll 850kW azimuth thruster fitted forward provides an alternative propulsion facility in the event of main engine or gearbox failure, in addition to transverse thrust.

Taits FR 229

With an LOA of 74.8m and a beam of 15.5m, Taits was specifically designed to operate from Fraserburgh harbour. The midwater trawler features a number of forward-thinking ideas designed to reduce the vessel’s carbon footprint and enhance operational safety and crew comfort. These include a fuel-saving Rolls-Royce Promas propulsion and manoeuvring system, a heat recovery system, in which hot water from the main and auxiliary engines is used to heat all internal areas throughout the vessel, two stern thrusters, and a Furuno big bridge system.

Zephyr LK 394

Midwater trawling deck machinery on the 75.4m midwater trawler Zephyr is arranged at shelter, boat and upper boat deck levels. Fish pumping operations are carried out at the stern. Zephyr features a custom-designed and fully integrated electrical power supply system specifically developed to provide optimum levels of running efficiency and fuel economy. Including six auxiliary generators, the end result is a significant first for a pelagic vessel. Each Caterpillar engine was specifically selected to run a predetermined range of machinery, thereby eliminating the need to have large generators running when power requirements are low.


Sponsored by WASSP

Amberlisa UL 30

The 19m vivier-crabber Amberlisa is the biggest vessel Arklow Marine has built for the UK, and the yard’s first for Scotland. Two refrigerated bait stores are arranged either side of the central trunking leading to the crabber’s 42m3 vivier hold. The vessel’s engineroom machinery includes a Scania D1 071M main engine, Reintjes 7.44:1 gearbox and two Cummins auxiliary engines.

Carvela K 751

This Stromness-based 19m vivier-crabber incorporates a combination of new ideas. Separate shooting and hauling hatches are situated forward to starboard, together with a viewing tunnel through the enclosed shelterdeck that provides the skipper with a clear view of pots at the gunwale rail roller. A second pot retoggling table, for use when Carvela is carrying several leaders of gear, is positioned at the transom.

Dalwhinnie A 913

Of 14.65m LOA, Dalwhinnie is based on a Buccaneer 46 GRP displacement hull. The crabber is rigged for pot self-hauling and shooting. A 1.5t slave hauler operates through a load-sensing pump from the fore end of the Doosan V158TI main engine. A Sole Diesel three-phase genset housed in a soundproofed cabinet is also installed. One hundred and thirty boxes of shellfish can be stored in the chilled dry hold amidships.

Dignity D 727

As the first of a new design of catamaran hull, the Dún Laoghaire-based Dignity marks the culmination of an extensive three-year design and build project by G Smyth Boats in liaison with Ian Macleod. Of 11.95m LOA and 5.5m of beam, the Maxus 12 uses pot self-hauling and shooting systems to fish whelks, brown crab and lobster in the Irish Sea.

Eternal Light FR 35

The 19.2m scalloper Eternal Light is equipped with an automated catch-handling system, including outer hull tipping doors and catch hoppers/conveyors. Featuring a new hull form of under 16.5m registered length, designed to deliver optimum levels of stability and fuel economy, Eternal Light works 10 dredges a side. The split trawl winches are mounted on the main deck forward, with the Gilson winches on the shelterdeck.

Golden Dawn FR 8

The Fraserburgh fast potter Golden Dawn is based on a Cleopatra Fisherman 33 hull. A 1.5t slave hauler and a gunwale roller are central to the potter’s self-hauling system. Golden Dawn is also rigged with five jigging machines, strippers and chutes for use during the inshore summer mackerel fishery. An FPT Iveco C90 engine coupled to a ZF 2:1 reduction V-drive gearbox gives Golden Dawn an economical working speed of 12-15 knots.

Leah III PD 140

The Gemini 10 displacement hull catamaran Leah III features a high build specification. Vivier holds and seawater ballast tanks, served by two electrically driven clutched pumps operated through changeover valves, are built into each hull sponson. Twin hydraulic pumps enable the pot hauler to operate with optimum efficiency when Leah III is fishing in deeper water or close to the shore.

Nicola of Ladram E 1

Operating across South West and mid-Channel fishing grounds before landing into Brixham, Salcombe and Newlyn, the fully shelterdecked vivier-crabber Nicola of Ladram has an LOA of 14.95m and 7m of beam. The vivier hold has a gross volume of 45,000 litres and is served by twin Desmi pumps delivering 270m³/hour at 1.5 bar. Engineroom machinery includes a Caterpillar C18 main engine and two C4.4 auxiliary engines running 107kVA generators.

Onward PD 349

The extensive working deck on the under-10m static-gear catamaran Onward is fully enclosed by the wheelhouse roof being extended to the transom, supported by three integral box-section pillar sections separated by two heavy-duty drop-down screens. In addition to being arranged for pot self-hauling and shooting, Onward is also rigged for auto-jigging, with five computerised machines mounted on the underside of the deck canopy.

Pilot Me SH 130

Twin JCB 125 engines coupled to PRM 2.5:1 reduction gearboxes give the Bridlington 12m potting catamaran a top speed of 12 knots. Fishing up to 30 miles offshore, Pilot Me is arranged for pot self-hauling and shooting. A vertical stainless steel panel mounted on the deck slightly outboard of the slave hauler keeps the hauling station clear of backropes at all times.

Southern Spirit LT 1056

Principally built as a beam scalloper, the 14.95m Southern Spirit also has the option to switch over to twin-rig trawling, when two net drums elevated across the transom come into play. Split trawl and pulling-down winches are mounted on the main deck. Gilson and tipping winches are positioned at whaleback level abaft the wheelhouse. On tipping the dredges, the contents fall onto reception conveyors from which king scallops are selected.

White Eagle CY 525

The 14.95 Outer Hebrides scalloper White Eagle features customised arrangements designed to give enhanced levels of working efficiency, safety and comfort. These include running the trawl wires over the top of the central shelterdeck walkway, fuel wing tanks built into the sides of the fishroom amidships, and a forward engineroom. Emptied by outer-hull self-tipping doors, catches from the eight a side dredges are moved forward by conveyors for selection under the whaleback.

Young Fisherman of the Year

Sponsored by Seafish

David Clark Reliance BF 800

David always said he would never be a fisherman, but one trip with his father in the summer holidays changed that, and he was hooked. His father says he was hard on David, starting him as a cook for two to three years before he progressed to the fishroom, then net man, the engineroom and engineer. For the past two years, he has been in the wheelhouse, learning about the fishing grounds. David skippered for the first time this year, when instead of taking the easy option of fishing close to the harbour, he headed 360 miles west to Rockall, landing over 500 boxes. He asked to go straight back out again, making for St Kilda, and after seven days, landed 370 boxes. David has now made eight trips as skipper, and on each one he has earned the respect of his father and the crew.

On his last trip (at the time of writing), he was fishing 80 miles west of Shetland when one of the crew had a seizure and collapsed. David called on his training and put out a pan pan Mayday call, resulting in the Coastguard dispatching a helicopter to transfer the man to hospital. He made a full recovery, and David was praised by the doctors for his actions.

David is helping his father with plans for their new vessel Reliance 3, currently being built at Parkol Marine Engineering, and has come up with several good ideas that are being incorporated into the build.

Luke Geddes Faithful FR 129  

Luke left school at 16 to pursue a career in fishing. He gained a berth on the Fraserburgh pair-trawler Faithful FR 129. He took three months off fishing in 2018 and spent the time at Jackson Trawls, learning how to splice and mend, and gaining experience working with nets. This gave him an excellent grounding, and he was able to prove his worth on return to the vessel, as his skill in splicing Dyneema rope was invaluable. He has also been given sole charge of working the fishroom on several occasions.

The skipper saw further potential in Luke and allowed him the opportunity to study for his Class 2 Deck Fishing exams in September 2019. Luke was an excellent student who worked hard while at college, and gained good passes in all exams in December 2019. He is on course to complete his Class 2 certificate of competency in record time when he has achieved the required sea time, which will make him one of the youngest skippers the college has ever had.

Michael Brendan MacLeod Grianan Òir CY 155 

Michael first went fishing aged eight, on his father’s prawn trawler, Aquarius CY 34. By 13, he was out at every opportunity he could get. By 15, he was proficient with the wire and rope splicing; by 16, he was a dab hand with a needle. Michael left school at 16 to work with his father on their new boat Grianan Òir. They found it difficult to secure a continuous crew while based between Barra and Stornoway and, in summer 2019, decided to relocate to the North Sea to access a greater availability of crew and eliminate the transport issues to the Western Isles.

However, within a week of relocating, Michael’s mother started treatment for cancer, and his father had to go ashore to look after her and Michael’s brother. Without any hesitation, Michael took over the running of the family boat, working hard and maintaining the family’s income during extremely trying times. His short time in the North Sea was boosted by a few knowledgeable skippers who provided him with advice, and more experienced deckhands whom he had the privilege of sailing with. He listened to them, which is a great trait to have in a skipper, and they helped him focus on the right things and make sound decisions. His quest for knowledge and experience, coupled with his island upbringing, have provided him with the drive necessary to succeed in an extremely challenging industry.

Michael’s mother sadly died in January, but he would like to make her proud of his work and career as a fisherman.

Keil Spouse Tranquillity S LH 1  

Keil has been fishing since he left school. His father and both grandfathers have always owned their own boats, so fishing is literally in his blood. He got his skipper’s licence in 2016 aged 20, and he was awarded Student of the Year at Aberdeen College. This was an achievement in itself, as he has dyslexia and dyspraxia.

He now skippers the Tranquillity S alone, have been handed the reins by his father a year ago, and it has had its most successful year in his hands.

Keil ensures all crew have safety training and courses up to date, along with keeping the boat in its best working order, overseeing repairs and maintenance. He dedicates his life at sea and at home to making the best of his and his crew’s careers. Some of his crew he is teaching from scratch, as fishing is new to them. His success and the hours he commits make his family very proud.

Stephen West Westro PD 20

Stephen has successfully passed his ticket and is now skippering the Westro. At just 20, he has a reputation for being smart and forward-thinking – ‘always is three steps ahead’. He is expected to excel in his career as a skipper and go on to do some amazing things. Stephen is a great role model for young fishermen, and he motivates those around him to do well. He was recently seen in Fish Town, where he was a great ambassador for the industry.

Max Wightman Georgie Girl LT 1042

Max has been fishing since the age of six. He has shown real achievement at the age of 19, going through Whitby Fishing School, and passing his skipper’s ticket and his yacht master’s, all within 18 months of leaving school. He now skippers the family-owned 10m Georgie Girl, twin-trawling from Lowestoft, ‘which is a great achievement for someone so young’.

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Campbell Hunter Guiding Light LK 84 

Campbell was brought up in Scalloway, where his family was mainly involved in the fish buying and processing industry. Campbell decided his future lay in the fish catching sector, and he has shown a real drive in pursuing his career as a fisherman. At school, Campbell enrolled on the Maritime Skills for Work course at the NAFC Marine Centre and successfully gained five SQA units relating to maritime activities. When he left school, Campbell enrolled on the Seafish Introduction to Commercial Fishing course at the NAFC, where he showed dedication to his studies and real enthusiasm towards the practical activities. Campbell gained a berth on the Shetland trawler Guiding Light, where he is making good progress.

Recognising the benefits of training, Campbell enrolled himself on the Seafish Safety Awareness course as soon as he was eligible and, keen to take advantage of more training, then enrolled on the Modern Apprenticeship (Sea Fishing) course. During this training, he has learned safe working practices, marine industry knowledge and seamanship skills, gained a VHF Certificate and undertaken a high level of net mending. Part of his training included his class making a complete rockhopper trawl net from scratch – something few fishermen have had the opportunity to do. Campbell has been keen to pursue the training offered to young fishermen in Shetland, recognising the value it adds to himself as a crew member and its contribution to safety in the industry.

Matthew Nicol Steadfast Hope BF 340

Matthew attended the Scottish Maritime Academy at NESCol during his fourth year at Fraserburgh Academy, which involved long travelling hours. He also attended the college when his school was closed for in-service days and holidays. During this time, he successfully completed the Maritime Skills for Work programme, which includes the three-day Introduction to Commercial Fishing course and all mandatory Seafish certification. Matthew showed particular interest in the fishing components of the programme, but was also keen to gain as much knowledge as possible in all areas, especially on practical tasks such as mending and splicing.

After successfully completing the National 5 Skills for Work, along with the mandatory courses needed to work on a fishing vessel, Matthew left school at 16, going straight aboard his family vessel Steadfast Hope BF 340. In a short space of time, Matthew has become a core member of the crew, and is getting involved in responsible tasks such as being in charge of the catch – selecting, washing and stowing the catch, and having responsibility in the fishroom, which ultimately results in the overall pay for all the crew.

His skipper says that Matthew has been paired with other crew members on watchkeeping duties, where he has learned how to use and understand the navigation equipment and net-monitoring sensors, and that he hopes in the near future to undertake the Seafish five-day watchkeeping course. If Matthew continues in his proactive approach to the fishing industry, there will definitely be a bright future ahead of him.

Reece Taylor Westro PD 20

At just 18, Reece been aboard Westro since it was finished in January 2019. Before that, he had just over a year’s experience at sea, but did not feel that he had learned much during that time. Since being onboard Westro, he has been determined to show everyone what he can accomplish, by learning as much as he can and doing everything efficiently, to a high standard and, most importantly, safely. Reece is the winch man, fishroom man, deck boss and cook. He is also getting very comfortable working with the nets, and is starting to learn more about the engineroom. He hopes to do his ticket as soon as possible, and maybe one day to skipper a boat.

Through the North East Fishermen’s Training Association in Fraserburgh, Reece has passed the Seafish basic sea survival, basic firefighting and prevention, basic health and safety, basic first aid, safety awareness, and his ENG medical 1 twice! – once in Peterhead and again in Aberdeen.


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