29th September '23

Trevor Spouse

“No fisherman wants to destroy what they've invested in. That would be crazy. We want fishing stocks to continue.”

Trevor Spouse epitomises the spirit of Scotland's fishing communities. Hailing from a long line of fishermen in Eyemouth, he now runs the family trawler Progress 'S' alongside his son Kai.

Fishing is intrinsic to Trevor's identity. "I'm third generation fisherman on my dad's side and have many relatives on my mum's side that have been fishermen through the years," he explains. "One of my ancestors was found lashed to his boat three days after the great storm of 1881 - he refused to abandon it."

This steadfast commitment remains, despite the mounting challenges facing today's fishermen. Crew shortages mean boats are tied to the harbour, while excessive bureaucracy and complex regulations hamper daily operations.

Yet Trevor is determined to keep Scottish fishing alive. "We've now got the wind farms and potential for further restrictions, or something similar, encroaching on prime fishing grounds," he says. "If these restrictions get on the prawn grounds, that could be game over for boats here."

He believes sustainability lies at the heart of small-scale fishing. "No fisherman wants to destroy what they've invested in - it would be crazy," says Trevor. "We want fishing stocks to continue."

However, he worries that policies are being driven more by politics than science or concern for coastal communities.

"There's a lot of environmental pressure from groups vying for money and influence," Trevor adds. "It all feels very political."

To keep his family's legacy afloat, Trevor has diversified into fish retailing. As well as supplying top restaurants, he and Kai run a stall at Eyemouth Harbour where they sell sustainably caught, locally sourced fish.

Trevor also reflects positively on his experiences at sea, describing times such as landing a big catch on a nice summer's day. "It's a great feeling when it all comes together," he says.

Yet he fears opportunities are dwindling for young fishermen like Kai to forge a career from fishing. "There's a lot more paperwork and regulations nowadays which puts people off," Trevor explains. "But for those who stick it out, there could still be a future."

Trevor Spouse embodies Scottish fishing's rich heritage. His pride in continuing this tradition is surpassed only by his commitment to ensuring fishing remains sustainable for generations to come.

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