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Prawns at any Price? Who Sails on the Sloop John B?

26th April 2012
Prawns at any Price? Who Sails on the Sloop John B?

#FISHIING TRAWLER  –  Whatever you were doing on the afternoon of Wednesday April 25th as a nor'easterly gale with torrential rain swept Ireland's east coast, chances are you weren't thinking of going near Howth pier and getting a picture of the seas smashing against the rocks of Ireland's Eye.

The scene was a million light years from the usual sight of yachts arrayed on a gentle blue sea with the gannets tiered on the Stack on Ireland's Eye's nor'east corner, serenely observing the peaceful scene. Rather, it was a case of gannets and everyone else hanging on for dear life.

But Colin Keegan of Collins Photo Agency was taking fantastic pictures using a very long lens - a necessary precaution as there was no going near the East Pier, as it was disappearing in surf. Then suddenly this red trawler hove into view, battling her way seaward out of Howth's fish dock.

We know that windsurfing is now an Olympic sport. But trawler surfing? What next?

Seems it was simply all in a day's work. William Price, who co-owns the John B with his brother Patrick with several other fishing boats in their combined ownership, told the Irish Examiner which ran these pictures today (Thursday April 26th), that Ireland now has a "very sustainable prawn fishing industry" thanks to many vessels being taken out of the business, so those who have stayed in are starting to make a living.

But owing to EU regulations, they are only permitted to go to sea for limited periods at certain times, and the crew of John B were simply making full use of their allocation. "You either go for it, or you lose them. There is no respect for bad weather......In today's environment, we have to ignore weather and just go to sea".

Just so. Make of that what you will. Say what you like. But it certainly makes the choice of scampi or chicken liver pate or goat's cheese tartlet for starters even more difficult. – W M Nixon

Published in Fishing
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