Mark Cornwell Chapter 3
I started working with my dad after school and at weekends when I was 14, potting and netting. I left school and went dive chartering and then to college to learn mechanics.  But I wanted to come back here and when I could afford it, I bought my own boat and went back to fishing for a hassle free life. I like the early mornings. It’s a peaceful time. I don’t think I could afford to go fishing if I couldn’t fix the boat myself. I’m pretty au fait with everything on the boat. I fit everything and fix everything. My father was always super mechanically minded, so I was brought up repairing things. The fishing community in general is brilliant. It’s like a big family. I know people from Cornwall to Scotland. It’s a very small world. Everybody knows exactly what everybody else is doing. There are plenty of guarded secrets of course, but we’ve been helped out, big style, by lots of people. Although they like to make out they won’t help you, we do get helped out quite a lot. Any information I’ve needed is out there. I think, once you’re accepted, you’re alright. It’s a club. The longest trips we do with this boat are 36 hours, I couldn’t do longer, but we don’t tend to do that unless we’re fishing a long way off. Fuel costs are considerable.  Years gone by, fuel wouldn’t have been in the equation, whereas now, it’s our biggest expense. It’s red diesel. We burn 2000 litres every week. We generally work six days a week. We try to have Sundays off, but sometimes it can be a bit more than that. It all depends on the weather. If you’ve been tied up for a week or more, then you have to do a bit more to catch up. Trawling can be dangerous. Anything and everything can go wrong. Engine failure. Pipes, wires that could break. Blocks that could snap. The weight is colossal. You have to keep on top of all to make it as safe as it can be. I wouldn’t say we make a hugely successful career out of it, but I have a lovely way of life. I don’t want for much and I think I’ve got the work-life balance pretty sussed at the moment. Gone are the days when you can go hell for leather and catch whatever you like and land it. That’s not going to happen anymore, so you’ve got to get that into your head. I don’t want to fish like that anyway. I would rather it was sustainable, worth more and we had to catch less of it. We fish next to the protected area which is closed to all forms of towed gear. I think the protected area has had the effect of concentrating a lot more boats into a small area, which has probably had a bigger impact on the ground that’s not protected. The fishing has been displaced out of some areas and into other areas and also people have moved into other things like whelking which is not affected by quotas and not at all policed in this area. But sometimes fishermen can be their own worst enemies. Everything should be managed and policed and if the balance is right then we can all have a good future. I’m quite looking forward to it!