How do local fishermen fish

With the fisherman at sea

The fisherman, to be more precise the fishkeeper "coastal fishing and small deep-sea fishing", is in the field of maritime professions like the decathlete in athletics. The activity in this traditional profession is not limited to catching fish, fishermen have to meet a lot of demands - and these are still tough even in times of increasing mechanization.

Overtime in wind and weather

Fishermen work in almost any weather, wind and waves, heat and cold, on a swaying ship in nature. The planks on board are slippery, the water is often freezing and the full nets are heavy. A regular eight-hour day is practically impossible in fishing.

"In the main fishing season I am at sea seven days a week and then work 13 to 14 hours a day. In the spring I go for herring, in the summer and autumn it is mainly flatfish," says Uwe Dunkelmann, a cutter fisherman from the Baltic Sea resort of Boltenhagen who does the Has practiced the profession for 40 years.

Anyone who works on a fishing cutter must have a wide range of skills. The operation and safety of the ship are particularly important. Fishermen and women must be familiar with all machines, devices and systems on board, on which not only their catch and thus their economic success, but in many situations their health, and often even their lives, depend. Uwe Dunkelmann's 10-meter wooden cutter "Uschi" dates back to 1988: "I look after it so that it always" serves "me faithfully and reliably.

Although fishermen nowadays have many aids at sea, such as satellite and radar navigation or radio intercom systems, they should also be familiar with nautical science in order to be able to steer the cutter safely to the fishing site and back to the home port. Before casting off, they must check the weather conditions, "read" the weather map and always keep an eye on the latest meteorological developments, even at sea.

The operation, repair and maintenance of the fishing gear is a prerequisite for profitable fishing. This requires manual skills and a certain amount of manual dexterity, because nets and other fishing gear often have to be patched on site with cold hands.

As an experienced fisherman, Uwe Dunkelmann knows when and where it is worth deploying the nets. His fishing area is the Mecklenburg Bay, the Baltic Sea waters from the state border of Schleswig-Holstein to Kühlungsborn.

Gill nets, trawls, longlines - how are the fish caught?

"I mainly fish cod and herrings with set nets, these are our" bread fish ". Flatfish are added in summer, i.e. plaice, flounder and turbot". The eel, which is caught with so-called eel chains, a composite system of basket pots, is also economically important.

Dunkelmann always brings out several fishing gear in different places. "In principle, after many years in this business, you know when and where the fish like to be at what time of the year and in what weather. But you can never be absolutely sure that we live with the unpredictable nature of nature and whoever distributes your fishing gear wisely , of course, improves his chances ".

Gill nets and eel baskets are considered to be "passive" fishing gear because they are not actively pulled through the water - like trawls, for example. Passive devices stand motionless in the water and the fish swim into it themselves. Gill nets are very selective due to their defined mesh sizes, i.e. they only catch fish of certain sizes that get stuck in the mesh.

A decisive advantage of such passive fishing gear is the saving of fuel, because the fishermen do not chase the fish, but only drive out to the fishing grounds to release the nets and baskets, in order to bring them back in on the same route after a day or two to "see", as the fisherman says. The seabed is also spared with these fishing methods.

In addition, other fishing gear is used in deep-sea and coastal fishing. Above all, trawls should be mentioned here. But also baited fishing lines (longlines), on which hundreds of hooks hang at the same distance from one main line, and trap-like systems such as lobster baskets are common fishing gear.

Catching alone is not enough - processing and processing are also part of it