Fishermen demand apology for BBC programme ‘piffle’


By a Newsnet reporter

The BBC has been condemned by Scottish fishermen after they claim the broadcaster portrayed them as “plundering pirates”. 

Mallaig and North West Fishermen’s Association has complained to the BBC about “malicious misinformation” on The Fishermen’s Apprentice.

The BBC2 series follows adventurer Monty Halls as he travels to Cornwall to live and work as an apprentice inshore fisherman.

The protest by the Mallaig and North West Fishermen’s Association comes after super trawlers were described as being at sea for 365 days a year, over video footage showing traditional Scottish vessels.

John Hermse, boss of the Mallaig fishermen’s group, said Halls would be considered “deadwood” on one of his vessels.

He said: “I am heartly fed-up with people like him commenting on the industry as so-called experts.  His opinions are piffle but instead of the dribble that it is, they are taken as gospel by viewers.

“You cannot compare deep sea fishing with inshore fishing.  Monty Halls’ programmes are like somebody who has done a first aid course telling a neuro surgeon what he is doing wrong.

“My members are furious over this.  He has made Scottish fishermen look like plundering pirates.”

In his letter to the BBC, Hermse wrote: “We must strangle such perceptions and nonsense at source.”

However a spokeswoman for the BBC said defended the programme and insisted it presented a “balanced picture”.

She added: “The series did not intend to be critical of the offshore fleet, but to show that there is another group of fishermen working in UK waters, of whom the public may not be aware, and who are also experiencing tough economic times.”