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9 August 2006

Fishermen's leader hails TV documentary series - The Scotsman

A GROUNDBREAKING television series on the lives of five Scottish trawler crews has helped transform negative perceptions of the industry, a fishermen's leader said yesterday.

Last week's five-part documentary series Trawlermen on BBC1 attracted more than five million viewers each night. It featured the Doric-speaking crews of white-fish and prawn boats operating from Peterhead, Britain's largest fishing port, on the Buchan coast.

Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, revealed yesterday that the screening of the series had attracted unprecedented messages of support from members of the public after bringing home the crucial importance of one of the most dangerous jobs in Britain.

One viewer wrote to the federation: "The programme showed everyone the true cost of our fish and chips. Our fishermen are some of the bravest blokes in the world."

Mr Armstrong said: "We've had many responses from the public saying how impressed they were with Trawlermen and wanting to pass on their thanks to the BBC and the men involved.

"At long last it is good to see the practical challenges faced by the industry being portrayed in an honest fashion."

Mr Armstrong said the series had focused on vessels from the white-fish sector of the Scottish fleet which had shrunk by 65 per cent over the past six years.

Stewart Stevenson, the SNP MSP for Banff and Buchan, said: "The lives of our fishermen have been shown to five million people across the UK in the kind of detail which has never been shown before.

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