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A Day in the Life of a Trawler Fisherman

The West Coast is a unique visual and cultural region. It is a harsh, but mystic environment with cultural traditions mostly linked to the sea and the fishing industry.

As such the long traditions of the region belong to the fisherman. For the visitor, the trawlers in the harbour offer picturesque photo opportunities and a romantic setting, butfor those who regard those same trawlers as their office and their livelihood, it is a totally different story. It is a life of one eye on the weather, fish quotas, dwindling resources and insecure monthly incomes. The next time you take a photograph of the picturesque West Coast harbour with its trawler, spare a thought for those on board it’s a hard life ensuring the bounty of the sea on your table at night.


How many of us really know what that life entails, what goes on, on the deck of the trawlers making their way to the sea we see nearly every day? Take a visual tour with us into St Helena Bay, travelling from Laaiplek Harbour to Bobbejaanskop at Elandsbaai, to St Helena, on Aranas, the flagship of Marine Products in Laaiplek.

  1. Early morning departure from the factory.
  2. Skipper Michael Segal.
  3. Leaving Laaiplek harbour.
  4. 5 Nets launched. First catch coming in.
  5. Anchovy catch pumped into the hold.
  6. A new arrival at the fishing grounds.
  7. Being an anchovy is tough. If the snoek doesn’t get you, the trawler will.
  8. Someone else getting a net in.
  9. The last nets are launched.
  10. Final catch of the day.
  11. Free-for-all: seagulls are also into the action.
  12. Sunset at the office.
  13. Just before the sun sets – Aranas heading for home just before dusk.


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