A new start is sometimes also the occasion for a look back. The cover of Fishing News this week (which you can see below) encompasses much about the traditions and history of the UK industry since Fishing News started publication in 1913. That year saw the arrival in Grimsby of the steam trawler Passing GY 887, at the time the largest fishing vessel in the world. Back then, the sight of haddock on Grimsby market would have been an everyday occurrence.
It’s about a generation now since a Grimsby vessel landed a haddock locally. The remnants of the GY fleet fight on, but they are now forced by changing fish distribution to land into Scottish ports, where the heart of the UK whitefish sector now lies.
Haddock remains iconic in the town, however – and 4,000 ‘Harry Haddocks’ are due to travel to Brighton for a Cup game next week, wielded by fans who still retain an emotional connection to the fishing industry.
Further north, haddock stocks are doing well. Pictures of 1,000-plus box landings into Peterhead and Shetland recently, one of which we feature on page 2, tell the story. Shifting politics, however, coupled with changin marine environments, mean that even as a coastal state we are in a much weaker position to maximise benefits from the stock. Loss of access to the Norwegian zone last year hurt Scottish skippers and processors alike.
The recent seafood summit with Norway was more about securing trade and increased Norwegian access to the British consumer market than it was about UK fishing opportunities.
It is a pity that the UK does not use Norway’s huge seafood trade with the UK as a lever in fisheries negotiations, but the strong demand for Norwegian fish by processors in Grimsby, Hull and Scotland probably outweighs catching sector interests.
With this issue, we have moved up from 28 pages to 32. The new format will allow additional space for more features and more in-depth analysis, as well as a number of new weekly columns.
This also turned out to be a (nearly) record-breaking advertising issue, so an apology is due to readers expecting their free boat ads in the back pages, which had to be held over for lack of space – despite those extra four pages! The free ads will be back next week.
Andy Read, Editor, Fishing News
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