Jimmy Buchan: Sustainable, responsible, provenance – it’s our future

© DC Thomson
Jimmy Buchan said he was left disappointed with the meeting.

This summer is providing a bumper harvest for our fishermen especially chasing the ‘pink gold’ Langoustine – Dublin Bay Prawn – Norwegian Lobster Langastino – Cigalas or its Latin name Nepthrop Nervegicas but to us fishers it’s just a “Praan” (prawn) to give it a few more names.

A hugely popular shellfish enjoyed not only by our European cousins but also by Brits when they go on their Spanish/French/Italian holidays.

Our coastal inshore communities and our offshore fishermen harvest some of the best wild caught Scottish seafood in the world with species like Scallops – Brown Crab – Velvet Crab – Lobster – Langoustine all destined for the dinner plates of worldwide consumers.

There is also another remarkable story that’s been hitting the headlines lately with North Sea Cod now a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue tick approved species meaning it is being harvested at safe biological levels.

This is an impressive story for a species that has been subject to some very bad press in recent years where in one instance it was reported that there were only 100 large Cod left in the sea. Bad journalism that hasn’t been properly researched can have an effect on local businesses, communities and the people who live within them. It is usually those that bear the brunt of these allegations which are more often than not blown way out of proportion just to gain a newspaper headline.

I was honoured to be invited by the Northeast of Scotland National Farmers Union (NFU) to take part in a discussion panel at the annual Turriff Agricultural show. It was a very interesting discussion where the farming communities clearly have a lot of similarities in common with the fishing industry.

Young people are not seeing fishing and farming as good career moves and this needs to change.

We must start improving the image of a career in primary food production and provide an opportunity for younger generations to be part of the future. I don’t wish to see us as a nation being net importers of food because we have lost the skills and appetite work in the primary food production. We have the best land and seas to produce world class food.

I look back to my own career path from the 1970s, from leaving school unqualified but enthused and eager to pursue a career in fishing.

By mid 1980s, I was able to purchase my own trawler and start a business because there was an opportunity to do so.

Understandably, the world of finance has changed significantly and therefore borrowing money to get started is not that easy – but we must provide an access path to create the correct atmosphere to stimulate young generations regardless of gender to follow their dream just like I did.

As stalwarts of our industries it is our duty to make provision for tomorrow not only in making sure there is enough fish, crops and meat to feed us, but equally we have the next generation enthused and focused with the opportunities to continue the good work we have all achieved so far.

Sustainable – Responsible – Provenance are no longer just nice words to use – they are our future and we need to use them wisely and with passion.