Watching the rising tide

Only a few years ago a new fishing vessel was practically a rarity, but now we’re almost spoilt for choice.

Fishing is busy right now. This issue of H&N features new vessels for the very different fisheries in the South Atlantic, France and Orkney – and after the years of keeping its ageing fleet going, seeing what’s happening in Russia is like watching a rollercoaster as investment in a modern new fleet takes place.

The yards in Spain that had been quiet during the long lean spell are seeing activity in fishing on a level that hasn’t been seen for years as all the factors seem to be coming together; a growing demand for seafood, mainly healthy stocks, reasonable fish and fuel prices – although the shadow of rising oil prices is always there – and banks with the confidence to lend and clear the way for fishermen and fishing companies to invest. Not all, but many quotas have been better than we’re used to.

That’s not to say that everything in the garden is rosy. There are fisheries in poor shape, and in Europe there's a greater political uncertainty than we have seen for years, undoubtedly discouraging investment in some quarters.

Although fishing is an industry that has gone through good times and bad, it seems that things are largely better now than they have been for years.

The rising tide lifts all boats.

The present optimism is something that gives everyone a welcome boost, from the shipyards to the fishing gear suppliers, engine and winch manufacturers, electronics companies, the guys wielding welding torches and paintbrushes, the corner shop that sells oilskins and boots, and the local supermarket that delivers the stores for the next trip – plus the fishing industry’s trade press that has the almost unfamiliar pleasure of having positive stuff to report.