“Pride in the Seas” exhibition showcases Scotland’s fishing sector

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of SFF

Scotland’s rich fishing heritage and the resilience of its coastal communities take center stage in the “Pride in the Seas” exhibition, a compelling visual project initiated by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF).

Renowned photographer Ian Georgeson captures the spirit of 12 individuals hailing from Shetland to Berwickshire, offering poignant accounts and portraits that underscore their passion, commitment to sustainability, and the challenges faced in the fishing industry.

Colin Stephen, Skipper in Peterhead

The exhibition, a brainchild of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, serves as a celebration of the diverse roles and shared values within Scotland’s coastal communities. From skippers and deckhands to scientists and analysts, the subjects paint a vivid picture of the multifaceted nature of the fishing sector. Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the SFF, emphasises the importance of acknowledging the complexity of the industry, dispelling misinformation, and providing a platform for fishermen to tell their own stories.

“The passion and pride of those working in the industry is a constant source of inspiration,” notes Elspeth Macdonald, highlighting the integral role of fishermen in providing healthy, sustainable, and climate-smart food. Despite the positives, the exhibition doesn’t shy away from addressing concerns, such as diminishing access to fishing grounds, recruitment challenges, and the potential impact of government policies.

Mark Anderson, Skipper, and son Nicol, Deckhand, in Shetland.

“The dozen that we have interviewed are a snapshot into that frontline. They are the people immediately impacted when fishing grounds are lost or policies are implemented,” says Elspeth Macdonald, emphasising the direct impact on fishing communities and the broader implications for Scotland’s fishing heritage and food security.

The “Pride in the Seas” campaign is positioned as a first-of-its-kind initiative, capturing the spirit, integrity, and quiet pride embedded in fishing communities as they navigate challenges while upholding centuries-old traditions. As part of its 50th-anniversary celebration, the SFF aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s stories and values, fostering a deeper connection between parliamentarians, the public, and Scotland’s vital fishing communities.

Trevor Spouse, Skipper in Eyemouth.

Scheduled to debut in the Scottish Parliament, the exhibition will later embark on a tour, reaching towns, schools, museums, and other public facilities across the nation. This outreach effort aims to offer diverse audiences a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted nature of the fishing industry, spotlighting not just its challenges but also its enduring importance to Scotland’s cultural and economic tapestry.

The 12 individuals featured include: 

Trevor Spouse, Skipper in Eyemouth  

Mark Anderson, Skipper, and son Nicol, Deckhand, in Shetland  

Colin Stephen, Skipper in Peterhead 

Mark Robertson, part-owner, and sons Paul and Adam, Skippers, in Fraserburgh 

Willie John McLean, Skipper in Mallaig  

Erin Mackenzie, Deckhand in Mallaig 

Dr Steve Mackinson, Chief Scientist, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association 

Dr Paul Macdonald, Senior Fisheries Analyst, Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation 

Elena Balestri, Senior Fisheries Policy and Science Manager, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation

Willie John McLean, Skipper in Mallaig and Erin Mackenzie, Deckhand in Mallaig

For those eager to explore the exhibition and delve into the narratives of Scotland’s fishing communities, the SFF website offers a comprehensive platform. Through portraits, interviews, and case studies, “Pride in the Seas” emerges as a testament to the dedication, challenges, and aspirations of those who sustain Scotland’s proud fishing legacy.

The full exhibition and case studies are now available to view on the SFF website.

The latest stories