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Life on the open seas — should you consider a career in fishing?

14 January 2019

The new documentary series Fish Town reveals how, 577 miles north of London, the UK’s biggest fishing port is booming and a host of talented fishing crews bust a gut every day to deliver fish to our plates.

Toiling away on the salty seas, fishing workers head out to catch tonnes of fish worth thousands of pounds. Here are five surprising insights about ‘fishers’ to help you figure out if this job has your name on it or if you should stick to dry land.

1. They’re unexpected conservationists

Historically, fishers and the conservation community have struggled to find common ground.

But, as this clip shows, that doesn't necessarily mean fishing crews aren't sympathetic to the cause.

While fishing for monkfish, a Peterhead trawler unexpectedly lands a large barndoor skate with their haul.

“We don't want to see them wiped off the planet”, says the skipper.

What happens next is really quite sweet.

2. It’s one of the UK’s most dangerous jobs

There are almost 12,000 fishermen working in the UK, half of them in Scotland. Five fishermen lost their lives in 2017; nine in 2016. 78% of fishers asked agreed that their family worried about them while they were at sea.

Peter Coulson, secretary of Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) says: “Fishing remains the most dangerous occupation in the world and yet there are no occupational health services for fishermen.”

3. Crews are formed from different countries

Every day in Peterhead, crew head out to sea from this harbour town.

They’re joined by fellow fishers from around the world.

Here pictured are some of the Filipino crew from the Amity, pictured with the boat’s skipper Phil Reid.

4. They miss many precious moments

Later in the six-part series, holdman Duncan Riche explains how it’s not a job for everyone. To make as much money as they can for their families, fishers have to spend a lot of time away from home.

“You miss first steps, first words, first days at school... I think I’ve had two New Years since I left school — and I’m 41 now.

“The good thing is going home, so you make as best as you can from it.”

5. The sea is a-callin’ for some youngsters

18-year-old rookie deckhand Nathan is on his first commercial fishing trip.

But he'd already been dreaming of the sea life for six years:

“When I was about 12 years old I wanted to go out on the boats but my mum wouldn’t let me.”

Maybe it was worth Nathan waiting for: now he can get wifi on the boats.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

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