FISHING THE COAST In spite of his growing success, Bob has only been lobster fishing seriously for around three years. ‘It started as a challenge, perhaps even a hobby,’ says Bob, whose ancestors were seamen and who has himself spent several years in naval submarines followed by 30 years in underwater construction. ‘My father and grandfather didn’t want my brother Allan and I to go into the fishing industry. They said it was too tough, too uncertain, but you can’t ignore what’s in your blood. There’s a certain romance to it. Fisherman are the last hunters, if you like, but the fishing industry has changed dramatically. There used to be trawlers in the harbour, now it’s all about shellfish. I wanted to focus on lobsters because there were plenty of people already catching crabs. There’s a bit of mystique about lobsters, and I wanted to make them accessible to everyone.’ ‘There is a good community here and we all have the future of the fishing industry at heart’ Bob acknowledges the lobster is an intriguing creature: both beautiful and barbaric, it changes from shades of black and brilliant blue to orange-crimson in the pot, it has cannabilistic tendancies, can sever a human finger with its claws and eats its own discarded shell which it changes once a year. Its teeth are in its stomach – and a nine pound female can carry 100,000 eggs at a time. They are as mysterious as they are delicious: an enigma even to experts like Bob. The method for catching lobsters, however, is more straight forward and has changed little over the centuries. Bob uses metal framed lobster pots which the fishermen wind with coloured ropes – a process which can take up to a day – to create two compartments, the entrance and the ‘parlour’. The lobsters are lured in with bait and end up in the ‘parlour’ from which there is no escape. Bob has around 1,000 pots which can last up to 10 years. They can be dropped anywhere, but Bob’s two-man crew focuses on ABOVE: The Capernaum returns to Scarborough harbour LEFT: The lobsters, which have been extracted from the lobster pots at sea and stored in containers on the vessel, are winched to shore ABOVE RIGHT: Bob inspects the day’s haul RIGHT: FIshing boats in the harbour at Scarborough – Bob’s family has a fishing heritage Yorkshire Life: October 2020 93
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