The Scottish Maritime Academy, based in Peterhead, recently piloted Knife Skills as part of the Seafish Introduction to Commercial Fishing course.
Centre manager Linda Hope said: “Knife skills are such a crucial part of the skillset required by new entrants into the industry, so we were very pleased to incorporate this trial into the three-week introductory course. The response from our students was positive, and we hope that this will become an integral part of the course moving forward.”
Course content included understanding the rules for knife care, use and storage; identifying the different parts of a knife; sharpening and honing tools and their use; and descaling and gutting fish.
Darren Sim from Elgin was one of the cohort of 12 students who recently completed the course.
He said: “Previously I worked in construction as a cable puller. I have always wanted to pursue a career at sea since I was at primary school. I decided to find out a bit more about the fishing industry, and have managed to do that as part of the Seafish introductory course.
“It’s given me a good insight into what I can expect at sea. It was mainly classroom-based, but we learnt practical skills as well – tying and splicing knots, and net-mending. The pilot session on knife skills at Peterhead fishmarket was really useful, and it was great to have a go at filleting a fish.
“The college was really helpful, and offered clear and professional advice on a further course – the 12-week Trainee Deckhand course – which I have just started. This will help me build my knowledge and further develop my practical skills.”
Simon Potten, head of safety and training at Seafish, commented: “It’s great to see knife skills training for new entrant fishermen piloted in NE Scotland by the Scottish Maritime Academy. Fish is food, and it’s vitally important that new entrants are able to clean the catch safely and effectively. Knife skills are also needed when repairing fishing gear and for personal safety, so they are important for new entrants to learn.”