Young skippers and crews take over whitefish vessels

TWO LOCAL whitefish trawlers have recently been taken over by young skippers and crews as part of a successful generational transfer in the industry.

At the end of last mont a fishing partnership consisting of skipper Ben Irvine, 24, Owen Dougan, 20, Gordon Smith, 23, Louis Polson, 30, and agents LHD took over the Sedulous (LK 308) from owner John Wishart and renamed her Comrades.

And this week skipper Robbie Jamieson, 25, Richard Whelan, 25, James Shearer, 28, Ross Sutherland, 21, Tom Jamieson, 21, and Magnus Polson, 19, were announced as the new owners of the Defiant (LK 371).

Irvine, who gained his skipper’s ticket in 2018, said he and his crew were raring to go in the new year.

New Comrades owners (left to right) Louis Polson, Owen Doogan, Gordon Smith and Ben Irvine (skipper).

“We chose to rename the boat Comrades, as my grandfather was one of the shareholders of that boat when she came, she was originally a Whalsay boat, so it has kind of come full family circle,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to getting going in early January, and I just hope that the mess of Brexit doesn’t get in our way. We have no concerns with the fishing itself.”

Jamieson, meanwhile, said he and his crew were looking forward to a fresh start.

“I’ve been on the Tranquility for the past six years, but it’s fine to get an opportunity to go out on our own,” he said.

“A lot of the older generation of fishermen are retiring and it’s really fine to see young guys taking it on. It’ll be a fresh start, but we have a lot to learn.

“Me and some of the boys have been off a few trips with [former owner] Gordon [Irvine] on the Defiant just to learn the ropes.”

Shetland Fishermen’s Association policy officer Sheila Keith said: “This is a significant generational change in the sector, and it is great to see young skippers and crew coming through in the way that their forefathers did before them.

“We wish Ben and Robbie and their shareholders and crew the very best of fishing when they get underway in the New Year.”

The Shetland Fishermen’s Trust has supported both partnerships. The vessels are now owned respectively by the Prevail Fishing Company Ltd and the Defiant Fishing (Whalsay) Company Ltd.

Shetland News