Roy, my dear better half, grew up in Paignton and Brixham and has been a fisherman in Brixham for the best part of 20 years, while learning the job as a deckhand to 1st mate he has worked on small day haulers as well as the bigger boats from Brixham. He still looks to his peers in the fishing community for help and advice and is known to many as "Roy the Boy"
I'm relatively new to this fishing lark and although I knew Roy for years before we set up home together I never really had any idea of the trade. My background is more from the countryside as a daughter of a smallholder/builder and a nurse, growing up in Hennock, Dartmoor. I went on to train in the Hospitality trade as well as , owning a fishing tackle shop in Cornwall and then finally ending up in the care sector both NHS and Private, with a few odd jobs in between.
Once Roy and I became a couple it dawned on me just how hard his job is and for the families left behind on shore, when we met he was still fishing the big boats and was away for usually two weeks at a time with little or no contact. As we discussed our future Roy was either going to complete his ticket so he could skipper large boats or we buy one for ourselves. With a new baby in mind we decided to opt for the day hauler so he would be at home more often and not miss the antics of a young family.
After a year of searching and financing we finally bought the "Lone Wolf" a small Brixham day hauler which was set up for both trawling and dredging.
I left healthcare to look after my two children then 8 and 11, full time and became pregnant with Roy's 1st baby "Chloe" and poor Roy became a stressed skipper (joking)
Roy, Kate, Rachel, Jake & Chloe
The first year was a shock to our systems Roy dealing with the stresses and gear problems that owning a boat brings and myself juggling the paperwork and a young a family and moving home (Hennock to Newton Abbot)
The boat has had countless amounts of repairs and renewals and a new engine which caused problems as well. Awful summer weather, crew problems, I even filled in myself! But finally in our third year we see light at the end of the tunnel and a new fishing season upon us with a fresh looking boat.
Now we can't imagine life without our boat, we love it and so does our little family. Even with the stress it brings.
2011 is when we first thought about how to create more revenue for the boat, with fishing ever more in the spotlight and the sustainable ways of keeping it going, plus rising expenses, less time at sea etc we thought well what about selling direct ourselves. Devon Scallops was born!
We doubt we will ever sell all our catch direct and will never have a store and processing plant etc, nor do we want to become large wholesalers. We will always continue to support Brixham Fish Market, as they support us and the the trade, however it creates a full time job for me, while remaining flexible for the children, we earn that little bit more for the boat as a business and hopefully spurs the trade on.
However much the fishing trade comes under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons, for us it will remain our lives and maybe our children's future.......