Why a life at sea will be easier after Brexit – Sky News

The big questions, which we hope to answer on this seven-day trip, are: what do trawlermen want from the renegotiations, and are they likely to get what they were promised?

:: Day 3: Rough night for a land lubber

I was warned it could get a bit choppy in the North Sea in November.

Everyone offered advice on how to cope with sea sickness and I prepared accordingly.

However, sea sickness has (so far) not been an issue, sleeping has. In gale force winds, the boat’s movement is frightening.

For the crew onboard the Aalskere, they’re used to the unusual movements and the unusual rhythms of life at sea.

They fish around the clock, day or night, hauling in the nets after five hours of towing. They then process the fish, throw the nets back in and rest for a few hours before starting it all over again.

The men work extremely hard in scary conditions and they do it all with a wonderful array of euphemisms; “it’s a bit rollie,” they say or “aye, it can be a bit uncomfortable at times”.

On watch last night in the wheelhouse was Keith Flynn, a young father of four who clearly loves the job. He’s hopeful that, although it can’t change the weather, leaving the EU will make his working life easier.

“Hopefully things will be easier. We’ll claim a bit more of our waters back quota-wise that’s the main thing.”

Soon after our chat, Keith presses the bleeper tannoy and everyone’s up and out on deck within minutes. The cycle starts once more.

:: Day 2: Fishing begins


Sky News reporter Joe Tidy speaks to fishermen about the EU

Video:
Brexit trawler: Day 2 and fishing begins

It’s taken the skipper more than 24 hours to steam to the ideal spot to fish for haddock.

We’re 200 miles from Peterhead in northeast Scotland and only 60 miles from Norway.

Trawling is a truly international industry with boats dipping in and out of international waters.


What is the country's plan for leaving the EU?

Video:
How long until the UK leaves the EU?

Skipper Iain Harcus says the rules here are different from EU waters but the quota he has been set by Brussels applies. This makes his job tricky as he must manage and count every fish he hauls onboard.

Tonight, plenty have been caught. The crew work by moonlight on the deck hauling the nets, emptying them into the hold and then setting the nets again. 

The experienced crew mainly from Orkney work incredibly fast and efficiently. Thousands of fish are gutted, cleaned and boxed up in minutes. Then they rest for a few hours and it all starts again. 

:: Day 1 Brexit – what comes next?


Many British fishermen oppose the EU quota system

Video:
Fishermen’s views on Brexit: Day 1

We’re currently heading out towards Norway to fish for haddock.

Skipper Iain Harcus has been a trawlerman for 30 years.

Like most fishermen he voted to leave the EU because of the “unfair quota system that sees foreign vessels taking the lion’s share of UK fish.”

He hopes the future renegotiation will help his industry, which has seen a major decline in the last 40 years.

There used to be around 21,000 fishermen, now there are only around 12,500.

Before we set sail from Peterhead, I heard from many other fishermen or people reliant on the trade from boats in the harbour who echoed Iain’s view.

One fisherman told me he thought 99.5% of people linked to the industry would have voted to leave.

:: See day 4 of Joe Tidy’s fishing trip diary on Monday

Why a life at sea will be easier after Brexit – Sky News

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