29th September '23

Colin Stephen

"You've got to look after the next generation. I don't know any fishermen who just think about today and forget about tomorrow."

Job: Skipper, haddock trawler

Location: Peterhead

For Colin Stephen, fishing is a lifelong passion passed down through generations. Growing up in the fishing village of Boddam near Peterhead, Colin represents the third generation of his family to make their living from the sea.

"It's just been in my blood," says 55-year-old Colin, who has dedicated over 35 years of his life to fishing. "I still get a good buzz when I see the fish coming up. It's a job I've always done and I still love it."

Colin's great pride is evident when he describes memorable hauls like the exceptional catches landed over New Year trips. He also fondly recalls learning from his father, who instilled respect for the sea.

"My father always said never underestimate the power of the sea," Colin explains. "It has to be respected."

This wisdom proved invaluable when Colin's previous boat sadly sank after snagging on a pipeline. While devastating at the time, Colin reflects that he emerged stronger, gaining greater caution through adversity.

Having recently bought out his brother's share, Colin is now sole owner of the trawler Harvest Hope - named after a boat his father once co-owned. He fishes with his loyal crew out of Peterhead, landing catches locally when possible to support the onshore economy.

Yet Colin worries traditional family-run boats are dwindling due to rising quota costs, making it hard for young fishermen to buy into the industry. He hopes sustainability efforts will allow stocks to rebound, easing this pressure over time.

"You've got to look after the future for the next generation," says Colin. "I don't know any fishermen who just think about today and forget about tomorrow."

Colin dismisses claims that bottom trawling damages seabeds, explaining how he uses larger mesh nets to avoid catching immature fish. He also moves to new areas once catches decline to allow grounds time to replenish.

After almost four decades at sea, Colin Stephen's dedication, wisdom and pride in Scotland's fishing heritage shines bright. He is committed to handing over sustainable seas so future generations can enjoy fishing as he did, growing up in Boddam harbour's shadow.

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