Newly qualified deckhand, 20-year-old Cameron Day, who is the first to qualify from an industry-first apprenticeship in fishing, explains his passion for the role
Fishing is in my blood as my father was a fisherman, but many young people today don’t think of fishing as a viable career. Two years ago, I decided to enrol on the industry-first apprenticeship scheme offered by North Atlantic Fishing Company and Hull Trinity House Academy to kick start my fishing career and ensure I could land a role with North Atlantic Fishing Company to secure my future.
Having now completed my apprenticeship, which was a mix of classroom and practical learning, I have progressed from a deck officer’s cadet to a qualified deckhand and have a full-time role as part of the crew of the Frank Bonefaas H72.
Putting the skills I learned into practice, I am responsible for shooting and hauling the fishing nets we use, as well as maintaining them, and ensuring the stability of the vessel. We catch up to 200-250 tonnes of fish a day, and with every haul the weight of the boat changes, so we need to make sure the ship is always steady.
I love how hands on my new role is – I am always busy and there is a real buzz onboard. I’m surrounded by fishermen who have been doing what they do for 40 or 50 years, so I am learning first-hand from the experts, and they become like your family after a while! Fishing is definitely hard work but it’s very rewarding to be responsible for putting food on people’s plates.
Something which is particularly important on board is sustainable fishing. Before I became a fisherman, I was not aware of how much information is provided on the fish you are eating. Each carton being specifically coded and packaged so that the buyer is in full knowledge of how, when, and where their fish was caught. This information is in turn used to aid the research of marine biologists, allowing them to monitor the statistics around specific fish.
Being from a fishing family myself (as well as the large majority of the crew) , I have been educated on the importance of abiding by rules and regulations surrounding fishing, thereby allowing for a future of fisherman and ensuring your children can also have a career. Because of this, the whole crew and working environment revolves around sustainability. I am proud to work for a company that abides by these regulations and looks to the future of fishing.
I have been out at sea from anything from two weeks to six weeks, although no two days are the same and everything we do is weather permitting. If it’s too rough for us to go out, we carry out practical tasks like cleaning the vessel, practicing skills like ropework. Whatever we need to do on board, the whole crew is well looked after with tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner so that we can concentrate on the job at hand.
North Atlantic Fishing Company is committed to building careers in the fishing industry and wholly funded Cameron’s apprenticeship. The Company has also funded training for its existing crew members to help build their careers and encourages careers at sea through sponsorship of maritime training schemes with Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) and the Tall Ships Youth Trust.