Sale of Rose sees Electcatch focus on crabs

Whitby Rose has left Whitby as ElectCatch switch its entire operations to crab potting
Whitby Rose has left Whitby as ElectCatch switch its entire operations to crab potting

After just two years, Electcatch bid farewell to the Whitby Rose last week.

The vessel had been purchased by Howard and his son Craig Locker as they attempted to remain in the whitefishing industry.

However, downgrading from the Emulate III to an under-10 metre vessel failed to provide the change in fortunes the pair were hoping for and last week the boat was sold.

“She’s a fantastic boat but there was a number of things that made this decision to get rid of it,” said Howard Locker.

“But I don’t think I will ever go whitefish trawling again, not with these new rules and regulations.”

Last year Electcatch largely shunned whitefish in favour of scalloping, but saw poor prices at market. Whereas last year a 50kg bag was fetching prices of around £80, this year that reduced to £50.

“That’s a lot of money lost for a small boat,” Howard added. “It’s the same for the fish prices. There’s a little bit of local demand but we were coming in some days with just little bits and so people weren’t prepared to pay a lot of money for it. You would finish up with just one guy who would buy it at an average price.”

In place of Whitby Rose, Howard said he hopes to purchase a larger vessel which he will use to go crab potting with his son Craig.

This would also see the sale of Electcatch’s other vessel, the Emmanuel.

By switching completely to the shellfish industry, Electcatch has not totally escaped the clutches of bureaucratic interference. The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is wanting each pot to contain two escape hatches on for undersized catches.

Beyond six miles the restrictions are reduced, and it this this area that Howard hopes to make his living.

“The Scarborough and Bridlington boys are doing very well, so we hope to do the same,” he explained.

The target for the Lockers is to work 500 pots a day. “If I can’t make a living from 500 pots, I don’t think I want to be at the job.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the potting industry, but if it’s managed properly and not left to run away, I think there’s a better future in it.”

By landing pots on a regular basis, this means the two men will be able to come home at night and sleep in their own beds, something Howard has gained a greater appreciation for in his later years.

The sale of Whitby Rose means Copious is Whitby’s only whitefish trawler.

Howard gave one last message to the fishing authorities: “You have to work with fishermen, not just come along with ridiculous ideas. It will put a lot of people out of business.”