I’m a first-time poster so feel free to admonish if I break any rules!
I’m writing a story where one main character is a skipper on a purse seiner that he runs out of Fraserburgh, Scotland in a modern setting. I’ve found it quite difficult to find much information about the running of these boats and so, I’m trying my luck here. Wikipedia’s information gives me some basics about how the seine technique works. That’s why I chose a purse seiner; I didn’t want the character on a trawler/dredger. What I’m having difficulty finding out is:
1. How long would they stay out at sea, maximum, on a run? Would they always leave at a certain time of day or return at a certain time (ie for wholesalers/fish markets)?
2. How many crew would be appropriate for the running of (smaller end of commercial-size) this type of boat including the skipper?
3. Assuming they pull the nets/catch several times over a run, how long would the individual catch take, from laying the nets to having the fish packed and processed?
4. Is it possible that the skipper could make a decent living (in a slightly unrealistic world where he generally gets a good catch) by doing three or less short runs a month, assuming that he also uses a small boat to lay crab pots to supplement his income.
5. Is it likely that he would change the target fish – one week mackerel, another herring, for example – rather than sticking to one specific species every single time? I assume, as a purse seiner targets schooling fish, this would be done by echosounders or something?
6. Would the skipper be the only one in charge of all the navigational and fish detection equipment etc and, if so, when on earth does he sleep?! Would they drop anchor at any point for rest or would he pass control to someone else for a couple of hours a day?
I’m willing to change the type of boat if something else would fit better. If there are any other little bits of information (re: licensing, quotas, mechanical terminology etc) I could throw in to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about, that would also be greatly appreciated. Really in-depth information will probably go over my head though. I’m more interested in how it affects his home-life - how long and often he’d be away – and how much down time there is between hauling and laying nets, and whether they would – as I presume – work at any time of day or night, catching sleep where they can, dependent on the activity of the fish.
I’ve looked on Wikipedia about commercial fishing but it’s focussed on enormous boats. I’ve searched bing/google/insert-search-engine-here for ‘typical length commercial fishing trip’, ‘catch to process time fishing’, ‘crew numbers on purse seiner’, ‘crew on commercial boats’ and variations on these themes but it’s not really coming up with the information I’m after. It tends to come up with unintelligible (to me, at least) technical stuff or information about enormous trawlers. I’ve also looked through the ‘boats…’ tag on this comm but most posts there are for period boats.
Many thanks in advance. I’m interested to hear your thoughts!