Case study: 3-week Introduction to Commercial Fishing course

Michael Mitchell completed the 3-week course for new entrants and now runs his own vessel catching mainly lobster and crab.

“My working career started in the engineering sector then eventually on to the motor trade. My brother and I had a partnership in a garage called Grahams of Colne Ltd based in Colne Lancashire.

Whilst working at the garage, I used to regularly read Fishing News and in the summer of 2014 I was struck by a picture of recent trainees and the accompanying article highlighting that they'd passed the 3-week Introduction to Commercial Fishing course for New Entrants. The article lead me to Dennis Osbourne (SATP) I booked myself onto the next course which was planned for August 2014.

The 3-week Introduction to Commercial Fishing Course provided me with knowledge and information on the many aspects of becoming a fisherman. The safety training, engineering and navigational awareness, as well as quality issues covered in the care of the catch unit are all vital skills for a fisherman to have. The practical aspects such as splicing, net mending and knot tying are all required day-to-day on a fishing vessel so it helps to have mastered these skills before going to sea. 

Having the knowledge and understanding gained on the course gave me the confidence I needed to take that first step onto a vessel.

After completing the training, I sold my half share in the motor business, moved to Amble and with the help of Dennis Osborne and the local fishing community, I purchased my own 8m vessel.

Now my dream of being a fisherman became my reality. Fishing mainly for lobster and crab, I went on to achieve my under 16.5m skippers ticket to advance my skills and knowledge.

Individuals considering a career as a fisherman need to be aware that it is very hard work and comes with unsociable and long working hours. There is mixed earning potential and some weeks you get no income at all, so you need to be disciplined when the going is good to make sure that you have some money put aside.

The job can be dirty at times and there is also an element of danger, but the benefits of having the freedom of the open sea make up for this. Doing hands on work in an adventurous setting with a select community of people, is very rewarding. 

To progress to become a skipper of a vessel, you need business sense as well as an understanding of the industry.

Fishermen can start as learner deck crew and one day work their way up to being skipper of large fishing vessel - surely that's got to be appealing to anyone who is entrepreneurial and loves the sea!”

Michael Mitchell
Skipper of Caberfeidh BH28