UK - The star of ITV’s hit TV show Trawlermen Tales is getting social this week to show the reality of life at sea, tell his seafaring tales and take questions from members of the public on everything from hake to hauling and catches to cod.
Designed to spread the message that fish is a sustainable and healthy choice of food, the Twitter Takeover, a day where control of a Twitter account is handed over to a new voice, takes place during national Seafood Week (7-14 October), an annual campaign run by Seafish to encourage people to eat fish more often.
Alan Dwan, skipper of Cornwall-based gill netter Ajax, will assume command of the Twitter account of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) for one day on 13 October to provide the public a unique, real-time, insight into the arduous work of our deep sea fishermen.
Fresh from their appearance on Trawlermen Tales, Alan’s crew will promote the hard work done across the country by fishermen committed to fishing sustainability in order to ensure the seas remain plentiful for generations to come.
Originally hailing from County Waterford in Ireland, Dwan has been based on the south west coast of England for 13 years and has a reputation for a particularly extensive knowledge of the ocean. For the last two years, Alan has been the skipper of the newly launched Ajax PZ36 following eleven years in the same position on its predecessor.
The 17-metre Ajax sails out of the Cornwall town of Newlyn, England’s oldest fishing port, and mainly operates in the North East Atlantic. She fishes mainly for hake, pollock, cod and ling, all of which have experienced an upturn in sustainability in recent months. In particular, Cornish hake was recently certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), underlining the sustainability of the stock.
Commenting on the upcoming Twitter Takeover, Dwan said: “Working at sea isn’t always easy but it’s a vitally important job – we are feeding the country after all. Appearing on Trawlermen Tales did a lot to boost the public’s understanding of the work fishermen do and it’s heartening to see a greater interest from them off the back of that.
“I think what’ll be so useful about this Twitter Takeover is actually allowing people to get involved with what we’re doing while we’re out at sea and ask questions. We’re all really looking forward to hearing what people are interested in. We’ll also be sharing some of our most interesting experiences. Hopefully it’ll encourage people to go out and eat more locally caught fish.”
Both the general public and fellow fishermen are being encouraged to submit their questions to the crew on the takeover day, with suggested topics ranging from the specific methods they use to catch fish and the sustainability of stocks in their area to their views on how the industry will fare post-Brexit and what life at sea is like.
In recent years, efforts by fishermen have seen many stocks rebound following a period of hardship - and now some even exceed previous healthy levels. For instance, 80 per cent of stocks (by tonnage) in the North East Atlantic Ocean are now being fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), the industry gold standard for sustainability.
Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, the national body representing the interests of English, Welsh and Northern Irish fishermen, said: “British fishermen have been working incredibly hard in recent years to fish ever more sustainably and the science continues to show that their efforts really are paying off.
“The work of Alan and his crew in this drive for sustainability is one of many success stories in the British fishing fleet and I think it’s vitally important that the public get an understanding of what fishermen are working towards and what life at sea is like. The Ajax really is the perfect choice to be the flagship for our Twitter Takeovers.”
To submit a question to the crew, tweet to @NFFO_UK on 13 October and use the hashtag #FishTales.
TheFishSite News Desk