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How Belgium is training the fishermen of tomorrow

Ocean   -   Copyright  euronews
By Denis Loctier

Join us in this immersive 360° experience onboard "Broodwinner" - a 29 metre beam trawler built in 1967 and used to train young fishermen in Belgium.

The vessel, renovated a few years ago with the support of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, has everything necessary to provide future maritime professionals with hands-on experience.

Bart De Waegenare, a teacher at the Maritiem Instituut Mercator in Ostend, supervises a group of local students on their training trip.

"They come from everywhere in Belgium. They start at 12-13 years of age, and they stay until 18.

"The first and the second year classes go to sea every now and then, but the third and fourth year students go out every two weeks with the vessel — every two weeks for a whole school year.

"That’s normal working hours, between 0800 and 1600 — so for eight hours a day, they are at sea.

"We try to teach them to be a fisherman — from the beginning. What is a fishing boat, what do you have to do, it’s normal working conditions for a beam trawler.

"We teach them to work safely — safety helmet, safety device for when they fall overboard — that’s never happened, but you never know. So that’s also an important part. Working with fish — they have to clean the fish, things like that. And navigating the vessel also.

"They really see what it is, getting their first impression here. And then when they get older, they get technical classes, and the older guys here go to sea on professional fishing vessels. There they see real life at a workplace. And that, in my opinion, is when they make a choice to do it — or not to do it."

Journalist • Denis Loctier