Trawlermen BBC Programme Peterhead Scottish Fishermen
Information about the BBC1 Programme Trawlermen which followed the crew of several Peterhead, Aberdeenshire fishing skippers and their crew like Jimmy Buchan of the Amity II
In 2006 BBC1 had a surprise hit with a documentary about several trawlermen crews and their trawlers. The first series had five episodes of thirty minutes in length. Each episode of Trawlermen was narrated by the Scottish actor Peter Capaldi (Local Hero, The Thick Of It, Magicians, After Sun).
Buy series one of Trawlermen on DVD.
The Fishing Boats and Crew of the Trawlermen
The skipper of the 19 metre prawn boat the Amity II was Jimmy Buchan from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jimmy has over 20 years in the fishing industry. The programme Trawlerman featured him fishing for prawns and fish in the North Sea, including the dangerous Devil’s Hole. Other scenes showed how his catch was sold at Peterhead fish market and where his fish ended up such as top hotels and restaurants throughout the world. Jimmy left school in 1986 and became a fisherman. His first boat was called the Amity which means friendly. A name that suits his jovial personality.
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Another prawn trawler fishing boat that featured in Trawlermen was the Fruitful Bough, which is also a Peterhead registered ship. It is owned by a younger skipper called James West who is thought to have been the youngest fishing boat skipper in the British fishing fleet, though his family have been fisher folk for over a century. His two brothers, Robert (aged 24 years) and Andrew (aged 21 years) form part of his crew.
The Trawlermen TV series highlighted the dangers and hard work faced by modern day fishermen such as stormy weather, getting by on 2 hours sleep in 24 hours, filleting fish non stop for hours, having to make instant decisions such as having to cut loose a stuck fishing net on the seabed worth thousands of pounds, risks of being caught in machinery or washed overboard and getting lost at sea. It is not all as tranquil as the photograph of Peterhead Harbour below.
The Trawlermen documentary also featured the families of the skippers and their crew who have to get used to their husbands and fathers being away from home for weeks at end knowing the dangers they face.
Episode List of Trawlermen
1. Coming Home
2. Starting Out
3. The Edge
4. The Storm
5. The Great Prawn Hunt
There was some controversy in the first series of Trawlermen when the BBC screened several episodes with subtitles for English and non Scottish viewers because of the broad Doric and Broch dialects of some of the fishing crew.
Bill Bailey brings his act, Larks in Transit, a compendium of travellers’ tales and a reflection upon his 20 years as a travelling comedian to Aberdeen at the AECC on Saturday 1st June 2019
The Blue Toon
Trawlermen featured the Blue Toon in many episodes. The Blue Toon (sometimes called Bloo Toon) is the nickname for Peterhead. Many people think Peterhead is nicknamed the Blue Toon because as you enter the town (in the Doric
dialect called Toon) you see rows and rows of houses with blue tiles on their roofs. However the real reason that Peterhead (Peterheid as it is called in Doric) is called the Bloo Toon is because in olden days of the fishing industry each fishing community had their own colour. Each fisherman from that community would wear a jumper of that colour so that they could be easily identified. This was most important if a man was washed overboard and his body could be identified when retrieved from the North Sea and traced back to his area by the colour of his jumper.
The skippers of Trawlermen were so popular with BBC audiences and viewers that they starred in a special Trawlermen edition of Ready Steady Cook. The skippers cooked with fish ingredients and their fees for the programme went to a fishing charity.
Awards To Trawlermen
In January 2007 John Buchan, skipper of the Ocean Venture, won an award from Seafood Scotland in recognition for supplying UK fish and chip shops with top quality, responsibly caught fish. The award was part of the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year awards which Seafood Scotland sponsors. The award was presented to his son John Junior who skippers his vessel on alternate trips.
Series Two of Trawlermen
Series two of Trawlermen started filming in the winter of 2006 and finished in May 2007 and will be broadcast in the summer of 2007 on BBC One. For this 2nd series of Trawlermen the BBC will again be following the career and fishing trips of Jimmy Buchan and his AmityII crew. Episodes will show how Peterhead Port Authority celebrate Christmas and will feature the AmityII all lit up with Christmas lights and the harbour Christmas decorations.
The BBC television crew will be out and about in Peterhead and the Broch (Fraserburgh) and will follow the crews and skippers of the Ocean Venture, Ryanwood, Starlight, Starlight Rays and the Fruitful Bough. Trawlermen series 2 will be screened on BBC one at peak time for five more episodes in August 2007.
New skippers and crew for series 2 of Trawlermen include Willie Tait and his cousin Peter from Fraserburgh. His vessel is called the Chris Andra and the Trawlermen programme filmed its maiden voyage as part of the Pelagic Fleet. Willie Tait and his crew are followed by the BBC cameramen on his fishing boat's maiden voyage.
Other new fishing boat skippers include Alex Baird and James Thores (Starlight and Starlight Rays), Sandy Watt (Fruitful Harvest) and James Buchan (Renown) and crew members like Chris Ironside and Mark Innes of the trawler Renown and William Geddes, John Duncan-Campbell, Michael Cordiner and Alexander "Zander" Duncan of the Fruitful Harvest. There is a photo of the Fruitful Harvest to the left and further below. The cameramen follow the work of Sandy Watt whose main catch is haddock and Jimmy Buchan whose main catch is shellfish.
John Buchan (Ocean Venture) and Jimmy Buchan (Amity II) make a welcome return to series 2 of Trawlermen. If you thought the weather and fishing conditions in series one of Trawlermen was bad, in the second series of Trawlermen the skipper Jimmy Buchan and his crew battled a force nine gale. During this bad weather conditions the wind reached over 60mph whilst the waves reached a height of 30 feet. The crew and camera crew raced the storm and failed to win and this dramatic event was captured by the camermen.
The Producer of Trawlermen is Michael Houldey.
More Aberdeenshire TV Programmes
Trawlermen Episode Guide
Each episode of Trawlermen is unnamed so the episodes below are numbered.
Series Two of Trawlermen:
: Episode 1 of series Two of Trawlermen was originally broadcast on Monday 18 June 2007 at 7pm on BBC1. It once again featured John Buchan of the Ocean Venture trawler and Jimmy Buchan of the Amity II trawler. This episode of Trawlermen was filmed in January 2007 and the seas were rough with the winter weather and winds. John Buchan and his crew were already in the force 9 gales and storms and his crew bravely continued fishing rather than return to the safety of port without a catch. They encountered problems like their £30,000 nets being caught on the sea bed and at risk of damage and a computer problem that affected the trawler nets trawling straight. This lost them a day's fishing and Jimmy had to resign himself to returning to port to have the ship's computer fixed. However he woke the crew up for one last trawl in the hope of landing enough fish to pay for the fuel. He was glad he did because David the ship's engineer managed to fix the computer problem and rather than return to Peterhead port with only 10 boxes of fish they caught another 60 boxes in one haul. Though some were coley fish that would not secure a good price they continued fishing. However with the force9 gale blowing smoke would they still be able to fish?
The Ocean Venture had a new 1st mate for 2007, Barry Lauder, a Peterhead man who had just returned to the Blue Toon from working abroad in New Zealand. Together they were after catches of haddock and other fish.
Meanwhile Jimmy Buchan aboard the Amity had to make a decision as the skipper whether to risk the lives of his crew and head into the storm where he knew there would be a good haul of prawns. Jimmy talked it over with his first mate, the ever optimistic and jovial Irish man Kevin O'Donnell. They were hesitant and anxious to risk the crews life because recently the fishing boat The anstruther vessel Meridian (KY147) had been lost at sea during a violent storm on the 26 October 2006 whilst on oil well duty. There were brave 4 members of crew aboard and sadly all four souls were lost at lost. These were Martin Gardner, Ed Gardner, Ian Donald and Sid Lowe. Only one body was recovered and he had died by drowning. The others are still missing, presumed drowned.
But the recent cuts in the fishing quotas meant that the crew of the Amity could not afford to have their trawler sitting idle on a valuable fishing day.
: The second episode of Trawlermen 2 was first shown on Tuesday 19 June at 7pm on BBC 1. It featured the Ocean Venture fishing during a force nine gale when its net chain worth £1500 was snagged 100 metres below sea level on some jagged rocks. If the net were to get lost the crew of Ocean Venture would loose £30,000. Morale was low and the crewmen looked really fed up. First Mate Barry Lauder managed to free the chain and haul in the net and crew member Tucker fixed the damaged net whilst Jonathan gutted the little catch which was mostly cod, haddock and monkfish. The ship's cook Michael Covey cooked a hearty fry up for the crew. The Skipper took the decision to travel near to Norway to try and get a better haul before the storm worsened. They got a better catch and this was seen when they took turns to kiss a fish, a huge cod.
Meanwhile The Amity (PD 177) headed to the ooze hole for prawns which prefer the jagged holes to hide in though it does make fishing difficult. They risked the incoming storms because when it is stormy at sea prices for their catch can be higher because restaurants and fish traders stock up and pay higher prices because they known for a few days or even a week the trawlermen will keep their trawlers safely in harbour until the storm ends. So the race was on to get home to Peterhead to the fish market whilst the catch was fresh. If left another day prices would drop for day old fish at the auction.
Both crews made it safely to Peterhead harbour and on time and sold their catches for high prices - smiles all round with more fish kissing! Off they drove in their cars to a well earnt rest.
: The third episode of Trawlermen 2 was first shown on Wednesday 20 June at 7pm. It showed the twining trawler work of Starlight (PD 786 skipper James Watt) and Starlight Rays (PD230 skipper Alec Baird). Between them and their crew they would share nets in waters at the Shetlands to catch haddock, whiting and cooling. By using the fishing method of twin trawling they can catch more fish for less fuel but between them they need a 12 man crew.
The paired trawlers ran into problems when one trawlers side of the net became snagged on the bottom of the sea bed. They had gone into more dangerous and jagged rock bottomed sea where cod like to live. By winching it up and down they were able to release the trapped net and bring it back aboard to check for torn damage. Unfortunately all the catch was lost to the sea and after working through the night they had lost an estimated £4000 when taking into account the fuel used, torn nets and lost fish. In order to get a new trawling net the Starlight and its twin trawler Starlight Rays had to go stern to stern close together in heavy seas for a new net to be transferred. By doing this they ran the risk of colliding and damaging both trawlers. Fortunately the transfer was done safely and paired trawling continued. Their next catch was black fish which trawlermen call cooley and this dead fish was dumped in the sea because the trawler was over fishing quota for this type of fish but the next haul was a record catch of cod.
New trawlerman to the trawlermen series was skipper of the Fruitful Harvest Sandy Watt. He is a Christian and ran his boat in line with his Christian faith; a happy nice crew with no swearing! It is an older wooden fishing boat and he has owned it for over 20 years. The Fruitful Harvest fished for haddock but sadly Sandy Watt and crewmen like 18 year old John Duncan Campbell only hauled a small catch. Their no swear rule was strained when they were unable to hook the tail buoy as they passed their nets because of the glare of the sun in their eyes. Sandy Watt had a good laugh from the wheelhouse but persistence paid off and the tail buoy was hooked.
They soon encountered a sea swell that made trawling uncomfortable for the trawlermen and when Sandy listened to the Radio 4 shipping forecast and heard the bad weather forecast he broke the terrible news to his crew that they were to be forced back to Peterhead harbour for their own safety. This meant they had not enough fish to pay the crew well after the running costs and expenses were deducted. They had been at sea for 3 days and only had 80 boxes of fish. His fears were confirmed and a right decision made when a day later scenes of Peterhead lighthouse being battered by high winds and waves were shown on the TV programme.
: The fourth episode of Trawlermen 2 was first shown on Thursday 21 June at 7pm. The largest trawler in the Scottish fishing fleet was featured. It was the Chris Andra and this was its first trip. The Chris Andra (FR 228) cost £12 million with bridge equipment such as sonar and navigation costing half a million pounds. It was skippered by cousins William (Willie) Tait and Peter Tait. The Chris Andra has an 8000 horse power engine and fishes for mackerel off the Coast of Shetland. The ship engineer was Bruce Buchan, a dab hand at playing the banjo. Crew quarters looked luxurious compared to the small bunks of the other trawlermen. They were like small hotel rooms with en suite showers and satellite television. They even had a chef, Lewis Duffy, who was trained in top hotels. His galley was more like a fully equipped five star hotel kitchen and even had walk in fridges and freezers.
In just one haul the Chris Andra caught 500 tonnes of fish which was worth about £300,000.
In contrast viewers were shown the 20 year old Renown (FR 246) that uses the old fashioned and rarely used fishing technique of seine net fishing. This involves a 2 mile long net being trawled along the sea bed. It scares the fish into a net behind. Few fishermen and trawlermen use this method of catching fish like haddock because it is hard to do. The skipper was James Buchan who runs his ship with the philosophy of his Christian faith aboardship. Crewmen include James McKay and 1st mate Bill Stevens who is also the chef and cooks a much loved fish soup. Though their galley and dining room is so small that crew have to crawl under the table to reach the seats!
Unable to get a good catch of haddock James Buchan set sail for his secret fishing ground that always has good haddock stocks only to find that it had been trawled by a pair of trawlers.
The Renown headed to a fishing area nicknamed The Graveyard. It is a small patch of shallow water where two currents meet. Over the centuries dozens of boats have been sunk at The Graveyard but some skippers fish there because large shoals of cod and haddock like to hide in the wrecks. Though this can give a skipper a good catch there is the risk of nets being caught amongst the wreckage. The Renown's fishing nets did get stuck but the crew managed to free them and haul in a catch of cod and haddock which was worth over £10,000. The crew gutted the fish whilst singing a fishing hymn and other hymns.
Jimmy Buchan of the Amity II (PD177) had been tied up in Peterhead harbour for one month and the crew were itching to get back to sea. As they made to sea viewers were treated to scenes of Boddam lighthouse. Their first haul was a huge catch of langoustine which would normally have been caught over one week. A delighted crew set out to process the langoustine. However because the haul was so big they had no time for hot meals or sleep. Their large catches of langoustine continued and the crew of the Amity only got 3 hours sleep in 2 days.
The Amity got a routine visit from a fishery protection vessel. The boat could have been impounded if the books were not up to date or if he was over quota. The episode ended with first mate Kevin O'Donnell joking Jimmy's going to jail!
: The fifth part was the last episode of Trawlermen 2 series though a Christmas and New special are anticipated. Jimmy Buchan in the Amity underwent his inspection from the fishery inspectors. They studied his log books and then inspected his hold to make sure the records matched with the catch. He passed and did not go to jail! The next scene showed an Aberdeen Italian restaurant cooking the Amity's prawns and langoustine. Jimmy and fellow trawlerman Sandy were joined by their wives Irene and Liz for a meal. I think Jimmy's wife is Irene. Back at sea the crew were surprised to find a cat fish in the haul.
Sandy Watt aboard the Fruitful Harvest headed for home from the North Sea as a force 10 storm approached. Before this he swapped roles with John the young deckhand who got to steer the boat and handle the controls whilst Sandy worked as a deckhand, handling the creeper hook to bring in the net. They returned to port with 50 boxes of fish.
To make the Fruitful Harvest more profitable Sandy decided to use the boat for oil rig work where they guard against other trawlers fishing nearby and damaging the rigs. He later decided to retire after 27 years aboard the Fruitful harvest, 20 years of which were as the owner and skipper.
The theme tune music to Trawlermen was composed by Carl Harms and the narrator for Trawlermen 2 was Peter Capaldi.
The Trawlermen 2 series was repeated late at night with sign language. A Trawlerman 2 DVD will be released soon.
Sadly after the second series of Trawlermen was filmed Sandy Watt had to give up his life as a skipper trawlerman after spending over 27 years aboard the Fruitful Harvest. Poor catches was one of the many factors that caused his sale of his vessel. The seine netter the Fruitful Harvest was bought by Neil Main from Buckie.
The BBC have yet to confirm if a third series of Trawlermen will be made but there will be a one hour special broadcast in late 2007.
Trawlermen: Pick of the Catch
On Wednesday 5 September 2007 BBC1 repeated highlights of the Trawlermen series called Trawlermen: Pick of the Catch. The hour long programme showed some of the best bits of the Trawlermen series and some new previously unseen footage.
North East Trawlermen got some good news on the 10 May 2007 when Monkfish was permitted to be fished and the quota increased. It was thought that monkfish may no longer be sustainable so the fishing quota for monkfish was reduced. Some grocery shops were so concerned that they stopping selling monkfish. For example whilst there was concern over stock levels of the fish Asda stopped selling monkfish.
Pictures of Trawlermen
Here is a small collection of pictures of trawlermen and trawlers. If you have a picture or image that I may use on this page then please contact me
Peterhead Fish Market:
You can just make out the Peterhead harbour seals in these photographs. They cheekily wait by the docked trawlers to get an easy free meal of unwanted fish:
Jimmy Buchan has become something of a local celebrity in the Peterhead area. We have spotted him a few times in his four wheel drive car with his amity2.com signs on the vehicle. Since Trawlermen appeared on TV Jimmy Buchan has appeared at the Peterhead Scottish Week
celebrations. In 2007 he crowned the Buchan Queen, Kelly Hall, at the carnival opening ceremony on Saturday 21 July.
In summer 2007 Jimmy Buchan launched his own brand of prawns.
Read the blog, see photos and contact Jimmy Buchan by e-mail at his blogger web site www.seafish.org/sea/blog.asp?p=em529 and visit the official Amity website at www.amity2.com
If you are ever in Peterhead and want a chance to see the Trawlermen who appeared in the BBC TV programme then try having breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Dolphin cafe at Peterhead harbour. There is free parking and they do a delicious fish supper - freshly caught!
Training Course For Mates And Skippers At Banff And Buchan College Fraserburgh
One unexpected spin off of the Trawlermen series is that there has been in increase in interest in fishermen and Aberdeenshire folk wanting to become skipers and first mates. So much so that the local training course for mates and skippers at Banff and Buchan College in Fraserburgh, Scotland has been over subscribed. This is great news for the local area because there were fears that the course would have to be cancelled due to low interest.
Aberdeen Fish Market
In July 2007 the historic building of Aberdeen Fish Market was bulldozed and resurfaced after 118 years of use. The Aberdeen Fish Market at Commercial Quay West was opened on the 20 May 1889 after the construction of the Albert Basin because of the diversion of the River Dee. The building on Commercial Quay West had no longer been used despite a £520,000 upgrade in the year 2000. Fish landings in Aberdeen had fallen over the years as the fishing industry declined. The fish market at Palmerston Quay in Aberdeen will continue to operate.
Fans of Trawlermen may be interested in the fictional film of TrueNorth that was made in 2006 and released in 2007 and starred several Scottish actors. TrueNorth tells the story of a Peterhead registered Trawler The Providence (PD 100) that is facing bankruptcy and the skippers son takes on board some Chinese illegal immigrants from a Belgium port to take back to the UK. Read more and see some photographs in the About Aberdeen True North Film
2006 Landing Catches Figures
In 2006 there were five new registered trawlers in the North East of Scotland. This meant there were now 101 registered fishing trawlers in Fraserburgh, 99 trawlers in Peterhead and 93 at Aberdeen. Looking at the overall numbers of trawler fishing boats in Scotland this figure was 2,224 vessels which was down in 2005 by 62 vessels.
The 2006 landing catches figures for Aberdeenshire were 16,700 tonnes of fish for Aberdeen, 138,100 tonnes at Peterhead, 1,700 tonnes for Buckie and 3,200 tonnes for Aberdeen, These catches were worth £14,236,000; £102,576,000; £3,534,000 and £53,489,000 respectively.
Official Observer On Fishing Trips To Monitor Catches
One of the stars of Trawlermen on BBC 1 was chosen to trial a new Scottish Government project that could sea fishing quotas increased whilst protected fish stocks. James West, skipper of the trawler The Fruitful Bough, will take an official observer on fishing trips to monitor catches. If the official observer finds that less than 5% of the catch is cod then the skipper and crew will be awarded with more fishing days at sea. This scheme is an attempt to safeguard the stocks of fish such as cod in the North Sea whilst rewarded skippers with more days at sea. The Fruitful Bough was chosen because of the publicity and good reputation that the skipper gained during filming and broadcasting.
Series Three of Trawlermen
The third series of Trawlermen for the BBC was filmed in Peterhead and the North East of Scotland in February 2008 for broadcast later in 08. Jimmy Buchan has a new crew who are John McGrean, Geoff Philips, Nikolajas Afansenko, and everyone's favourite Trawlerman Kevin O'Donnell is still with Jimmy as second mate. The crew of Amity were given special fisherman's trousers and jackets by the company Don-Mor Safety. They were sponsored by Regatta of Norway. These oilskin type protective clothing has a built in buoyancy in the front and back independent of any mechanical device or gas cylinders and does not encumber the wearer. Because of the dangers of bulky lifejackets getting caught in machinery or nets some fishermen do not wear them, but these protective clothing is not bulky and is already proving popular with Norwegian fishermen. The maintenance free buoyancy clothing is also popular with the crew of Amity.
Series 3 of Trawlermen the BBC TV series was broadcast on Wednesday 20 August 2008 on BBC1 at 8:30pm until 9pm throughout the UK. The voice over narration was provided by the actor Ken Stott (Rebus, Messiah). Aboutaberdeen is not sure why Peter Capaldi did not record the voice overs for series 3 of Trawlermen.
Series three of Trawlermen featured the North East of Scotland fishermen from Peterhead and Fraserburgh which included John D Buchan and his father Jimmy Buchanan with their first mates Barry and Kevin. New fisher folk were father and son trawlermen Charles McBride and Charlie McBride of the boat Arcane (N907) from Ireland. Filming included a Force 11 storm and Ken Stott told viewers that trawlermen are 30 times more likely to die doing their job as a wave washed over John D Buchan and threw him off his feet. His luck deteriorated as the engines of the Amity II failed and the boat had to be towed back to Peterhead harbour. A £60,000 overhaul was needed and the boat would be out of commission so first mate Kevin had to find another boat to work with.
The Arcane lost their fishing net and then had to divert to the Shetland Islands to repair a winch hydraulic system. Trawlermen 3 was filmed in January 2008 and Charles McBride and Charlie McBride and their crew were able to watch the Shetland New Year Festival Up Hally Aa.
Episode 2 of Trawlermen3 was broadcast on Wednesday 27 August 08 at 8:30pm for 30 minutes and showed the youngest trawlerman from Fraserburgh cooking a chicken stir fry in the galley during a force 9 gale. This was Chas Bruce who is aged 23 years. He is the skipper of New Dawn (FR470) with his brother Martin. They took over the family business from his father Alistair. Trawlermen 3 showed their mother Marjorie serving a delicious looking plate of stovies. These clips showed him going out in a storm whilst other skippers from Fraserburgh stayed at home due to the extreme weather conditions.
Meanwhile the Arcane crew went back to retrieve their lost net from the bottom of the sea bed. The fishing net cost £6000 and was retrieved with a special grappling hook called a creeper and a lot of patience and hard work. Father and Son Charles and Charlie McBride took a gamble to spend money on fuel to go to the Norwegian waters near to Bergen in Norway to fish for haddock. Their luck returned and they were able to land some good catches and get good prices at the market. Though this did involve some hard graft of working continuously for 36 hours.
Episode 2 of Trawlermen 3 showed some stunning 3D computer images to demonstrate some of the work of the trawlers.
The crew of Amity II thought they were not catching much fish or prawns so Jimmy Buchan and 1st mate Kevin arranged to trawl together with the ship Ocean Challenge skippered by George Runcie. They then compared weights of catches with Jimmy catching a 35 stone haul.
The second episode of series three of Trawlermen ended with a dedication to fisherman Reynaldo Benitez from the Philippines who was swept overboard in August 2008, several months after filming of the third series of Trawlermen. Brave skipper Chas Bruce dived into the sea to try and rescue him but sadly 29 year old Filipino trawlerman Reynaldo Benitez was lost to sea.
A clip from episode 3 of Trawlermen 3 showed a fire in the engine room of Amity II.
Episode 3 of Trawlermen 3 was broadcast on Wednesday 3 September 2008 at 8:30pm on BBC1. It started off with the Radio 4 shipping forecast informing the New Dawn crew that there would be a force 8 storm in their fishing area. The trawler then lost its power and the Trawlermen film crew underwater camera was used to look at the propeller area and revealed that a rope was wrapped around the propeller blades and shaft. They tried fishing with limited power but had to go to port where the New Dawn (FR470) was taken out of the water and into the slip for repairs. On their next voyage they had a new member of crew. This was deck hand Ryan Morrison who viewers may remember from Trawlermen 1 in 2006 where he worked on one voyage and gave up trawling because of seasickness. Ryan Morrison was still slightly seasick but was much happier with the new younger crew, especially playing computer games at the wheelhouse during the journey out. Unfortunately the luck of the New Dawn and skipper Chas did not return when they snagged a net on the seabed and had to cut the £6000 trawler net and leave it on the ocean bed. Their other net was ripped and they returned to port with little catch in the hold.
The luck of Jimmy Buchan was much better with his new £60,000 engine and he was catching lots of prawns and even some huge cod in a fishing area called the buttocks. Viewers of Trawlermen3 were even given the rare sight of seeing Jimmy Buchan dance and sing! Then the fire alarms went off and a look of panic in all the crew was caught on camera as they rushed to the engine room where a burst cooling system pipe was releasing steam and water. It was soon fixed by 1st mate Kevin.
The deep sea trawler Genesis was trawling off the Shetland Islands in freezing conditions with huge swells. The skipper of Genesis is Alan Watt whose 28 metre long vessel trawls up to 4000 feet deep with two huge nets. He trawls for lucrative monkfish and on his first trawl he caught dogfish which he had to throw overboard because there is no market for them.
The next episode of Trawlermen3 shows a lone crab fisherman and is described as on of the most dangerous fishing jobs.
Episode four of Trawlermen was broadcast on Wednesday 10 September 2008 at 8:30pm. It featured the trawler Genesis (BR505) with skipper Alan looking for monkfish but only catching more dogfish that he could not sell. So he set sail for waters 50 miles away and caught monkfish that grossed £40,000 at the fish market. The crew nickname the monkfish banjos because they look like the shape of a banjo. Their other names include angle fish or just monk. During their trawling trip they endured a force 10 storm and spent the time gutting the monk and preparing them for market.
The New Dawn run of bad luck was evident for a third time when this smallest boat in the prawn fleet lost another net with prawns. It got caught on the propellers. They were able to secure some of the catch and used their third and last net. Their ill luck turned to good luck when they caught lots of huge prawns.
Trawlermen then featured John Alexander whose boat is called the Chloe May (FR983) after his daughter. His job was described by narrator, Ken Stott, as the most dangerous job in Britain. This lone fisherman fishes for crabs with 30 line creel pots and in this episode he had difficulty finding his buoys that had disappeared below the water. This single handed operation saw John Alexander slip a few times on his open deck and he told the camera crew about a few accidents and near misses and told of his fears that one day he may be caught on his rope and dragged into the sea with his creels. Upon his safe return to Fraserburgh harbour we saw John Alexander feeding his pet seal that waits for him and claps its fins together to indicate he'd like fed some fish. Though the Chloe May is named after his child she hates the taste of crab!
The fifth episode of Trawlermen was broadcast on the 17 September 2008. The Arcane (N907) was out to catch haddock but netted cod which they had to throw back into the sea dead because they would be in breach of their fishing quota. Their second haul was more cod in the hopper which they managed to throw back alive. They also caught a rare deep sea water skate at 60kg which had to be thrown back too because there was no market for it. During their hauls they also inadvertently caught some gannets which had dived into their nets for the fish. The trawlermen managed to rescue them safely from the fishing nets. In another haul they secured a flatfish called
A pair of hunting trawlers were then featured. These were the Ocean Dawn skippered by Ian Ritchie and the Sun Rise whose skipper is John Steven with his son John junior. Their huge net cost £20,000 and unfortunately was ripped apart on some rocks on the sea bed. It had to be mended by hand by the crew. They then had to pair trawl in 10 metre high swells making their job very dangerous. So they sheltered in the port of Bergen where the crew could not afford too many rounds of beer at the local bars. Each pint cost £8-50.
In Peterhead a white fish trawler was being refitted. It was formerly called the Solstice and was part of the Irish fishing fleet. It had a run of bad luck including a fatality and several crew injuries. The Solstice was renamed the Viking Monarch and owned by Jason Schofield and undergone a half a million pound refit. A similar ship would have cost £5 million new. To fill up on fuel for the first time it cost Viking Monarch £50,000. The skipper of the Viking Monarch is John Musgrave from Yorkshire. It is now the largest white fish trawler in the UK fleet.
As episode five ended we were shown some clips of the next episode of Trawlermen which showed John Buchan getting angry with a Spanish trawler fishing in Scottish waters.
The sixth and final episode of Series 3 of Trawlermen was broadcast on BBC One at 8:30pm on Wednesday 24th September 2008. It started with an argument between a Spanish skipper and Scottish trawlerman John Buchan (nickname King Cod because he has been at sea so long) because of the close proximity of the trawlers to each other. The skipper from Spain was using a fixed gill net and was fearful that the Ocean Venture II (PD340) would snag her nets. However John Buchan knew he was not near to his nets and accused the Spanish skipper of giving wrong co-ordinates. The Spanish skipper threatened to shoot a rope into the Ocean VentureII propellors. John Buchan had no option but to accuse the Spaniard and his crew of trying to cordon off a big area of fishing by telling lies and making threats. He showed the skipper that he had not caught his net by hauling up his gear that was clear of rope and nets. John Buchan left the area for new fishing ground. He first went to the Papa Bank off the Shetland Isles for haddock but could not catch any. He then sailed to The Edge for monkfish but with no luck again though they did catch a fish none of the crew had seen before, an Atlantic Deep Sea Octopus which they thought was a huge jelly fish. After checking his lottery ticket on the ship’s TV and not winning he finally caught black coley fish after another black attack. But the trawler’s ice machine was not producing enough ice to preserve the huge haul but fortunately it soon worked again and the catch was saved.
In the Norwegian sector the pair trawlers SunRise and OceanDawn caught a huge haul of black coley fish which the trawlermen nickname the black attack. Their haul was a record 350 boxes and was the biggest haul of the year. Unfortunately at their next haul the ship’s engines revs were lost so the other trawler had to return to Peterhead to land the fish and get the spare part to fish the twin trawler engine. The haul fetched £23,500 at Peterhead fish market.
The theme tune music to Trawlermen was created by TV composer Carl Harms.
It is hoped that series three of Trawlermen will be available to buy on DVD.
It is possible to watch each episode of Trawlermen 3 on the BBC iplayer at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ up to seven days after its original transmission.
A fourth series of Trawlermen started filming in December 2008 for broadcast in 2009. However it is not confirmed if popular skipper Jimmy Buchan will appear in series four because he is standing as the conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan.
Aboutaberdeen would like to thank Sharon Kearney for the photographs above entitled: Bringing In The Catch, Cruise Liner Peterhead Harbour, Fishing Boat Leaving Peterhead, Fraserburgh Trawler, Fraserburgh Harbour Seal Resting On The Rocks and Trawler.
Trawlermen Series 4
Trawlermen series 4
was broadcast on BBC One from Wednesday 9 September 2009 and was available on the BBC iplayer for one week. There were three episodes in this fourth series of Trawlermen, each lasting one hour. Trawlermen 4 followed the crew of Sunrise whose skipper is John Stephen senior. In episode one of Trawlermen series four John Stephen snr collapsed at the wheelhouse and a helicopter rescue was initiated.
The crew of the New Dawn, the prawn trawler from Fraserburgh, were still trying to come to terms with the loss at sea of shipmate Reynaldo Benitez. The skipper of New Dawn, Chaz Bruce, dived into the water to try and rescue Reynaldo Benitez who had been caught up in the nets and dragged overboard, but sadly could not save him.