“We are the last of the hunters”

Photographed in 2019 as part of theportraits.co.uk social documentary series and spoken in his own words.
Lowestoft Skipper Melvin.

At 16 I went to sea, I was a merchant seaman, travelling around the world and learning a lot.
In my late twenties I returned home and had a family – it’s my hobby that is my job. It’s a job you can’t do for the money, you must want to do it.
Being a born optimist is a requirement. Just because you didn’t catch finish last month or last week, doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow. You must remain positive.

Generally, things go in cycles, nature goes in cycles, that’s just part of life.

We catch a lot of Welks. Of course, Fishing is very seasonable, summer is completely different to Winter. Then it’s mainly long lines, catching Cod, Skate, dog-fish, seabass etc. In the summer we mainly use nets, catching dove sole, whiting, plaice, brills, turbots.
It’s traditionally been like this for smaller vessels for many years.
Sadly now, it’s virtually impossible for a young person to join the industry and create a lifestyle to suit.

The boat is called the four daughters, a reflection of my lovely family.
You find a clean shiny boat; I’ll show you a boat that doesn’t go to sea. It’s a dirty, grimy job, but hugely enjoyable. In Winter it can be tough, 4am starts when everyone else is in bed, it’s dark, cold and wet and I’m off to sea. It’s certainly not for everyone.

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