I would say that it was nearly 100% Scottish for a start. You did get people, particularly the women in the processing, would come from the smaller villages into the larger towns to work. And then ... historically, I don’t think by the time we got there this was going on, but historically people were going from the Western Isles to work on East Coast boats as the extra last person usually. So they had probably the worst deal. But no, it was entirely Scottish and I would say the reason is because this demographic is that people are still having quite a lot of children and now the birth rate’s gone down quite a lot so there aren’t so many young Scottish people around, even if they were keen on that kind of work. I mean I was really struck last month when I was at Mallaig when the Reaper, the fishing sailboat from Anstruther, came in and you would think on a historic boat like that they would find a crew of Scots people but several of them were actually Filipinos. This is amazing that they couldn’t recruit enough Scots people. Whether that’s because people aren’t interested or there just aren’t the people around, I don’t know. But that’s a huge change of course.

  • Paul Thompson
Friday 17th July 2009