As the new campaign Sea for Yourself urges NI people to cook more locally-bought fish, Linda Stewart asks three fishermen about ocean life.
Brian Chambers (49) fishes for crabs, lobster and scallops in his boat The Girl Beth out of Annalong. He is married to Lenora (42), a classroom assistant, and has four children, Bryony (23), Jessica (21), Erin (16) and Raymond (10).
"Our family's involvement with the sea goes back eight generations- my father was a fisherman, my grandfather was too and so on. There's salt water in my blood somewhere, it's as simple as that," he says.
Brian did A-levels and was accepted for a naval architecture course, but he took up fishing instead.
"There was the call of the sea. I followed my heart instead of my head and that is where it went," he explains.
"I think it was a great way of bonding with my father when I was very young.
"Few people take their son to work with them at an early age. You were almost made to feel more grown-up than you were because you were part of the workforce. It helped with my independence too.
"My daughters all come out with me in the summer and it gives them a great appreciation of what it is to work and the value of money.
"I genuinely think it helps with your mental health when you are out in the fresh air and working - and the enjoyment of what you work at.
"A lot of people come to fishing thinking they are going to make a lot of money, but they don't realise what hard work it is."
Brian joined the family business and, five years later began working with his brother, fishing for crabs and lobster in winter and scallops in spring.
"We fish out of Annalong, which is a tidal harbour, so the water leaves the harbour completely twice in 24 hours - it's completely dry. Every day is completely different. Some days you have to leave the harbour at 4.30am, other times it's not until 8am."
A fishing trip for crabs and lobsters usually takes around eight or nine hours.
"You have to land them fresh, so it's a short trip. Later on in the year with the scallops, we tend to go as far afield as the Isle of Man and fish there. You might be away for a couple of days if the weather is good rather than coming back and forward," Brian says.
These days, he fishes single-handed.
"I developed the boat so that it's safe to do so. It has a lot of safety features which are great for single-handed fishermen. When I started, you fished and sold the fish and that was it. Now we have endless hours of paperwork with it - it's all to do with traceability," Brian tells me.
He's never been in any real danger himself, but 15 years ago he agreed to accept a passenger who then suffered a heart attack. "I am usually reluctant to take anyone on board. If I go out and the tide is ebbing, you are committed to being out for at least six hours," Brian says.
"We weren't able to get in, so we had to go towards Newcastle and meet the lifeboat halfway. He made a full recovery, but it was just one of those occasions.
"It emphasised the training fishermen have to do - we do first aid training, fire-fighting training and health and safety training. It really showed."
Recently Brian has been posting early morning photographs on a Facebook page.
"The amount of comments you get from people appreciating seeing the dawn coming up and looking at the mountains out at sea from a different perspective...," he says.
"Six months ago, I photographed dolphins swimming around the boat. You really have to stop and admire them.
"When you're at work and you're getting paid for doing what people dream about doing, you have to sit back and say, 'This is what it's about'. It makes you appreciate mother nature and life."
Sean McKinley (39), from Loughguile in north Antrim, is skipper of the Crystal Tide. He normally fishes from Ballycastle but is moored at Ardglass this year and has launched a delivery business. He is married to Noreen, a technical manager in a factory, and has two children, Grace (10) and Liam (5).
"My mother is from Rathlin Island. I was first on a boat when I was six weeks old and I was taken over to see my granny, so I've been around boats all my life," Sean says.
"I went out with my uncle in the summer holidays in a small boat to fish for lobster.
"My cousin had a tiny rowing boat and we went out when we were youngsters."
He began fishing when he was 17 ("I got a loan of money from my mother to buy welly boots") and then joined the Merchant Navy, but he couldn't settle on anything until he took to fishing.
Sean fished for a family in Ballycastle for a few years. Then, three years ago, he bought the boat and is now skipper of a crew of five.
"At the minute we're fishing for langoustine and fish. We move with the seasons. In winter, we fish for scallops and things like that. The seasons determine what we fish for and where we fish," he says.
"We would go on short trips of 48 to 72 hours and then come back in. We start looking for the fish and, when we find them, we settle down.
"Fishing has a pretty monotonous routine - it's fish, eat, sleep and it goes on like that for 72 hours.
"We come back to unload and get fuel, food and ice, then we go back out again.
"At this time of the year, it's long hours. This week I did over 100 hours. There's lots of daylight at this time of year. There's lots of downtime in the winter, so you have to make it up now when you can."
Sean reckons prices are down by 25% to 30% this year compared to last, hitting fishermen hard. The cost of fuel is also constantly changing.
"A lot has changed over the years and there are a lot fewer locals doing it now. Probably the biggest challenge now is getting people who want to do the job," he says.
"The hours are long and late and you need to have a passion for the job."
Sean has been in a few dangerous situations over the years, including a couple of boat fires.
"That was scary, but we survived. We put the fire out and we were okay." he recalls.
"Most fishermen will know of somebody who has got killed or hurt, but I've been lucky enough. I've had the odd broken finger, but nothing too serious.
"A couple of times we have been towed in by the Portrush lifeboat. We had engine problems, but the boat wasn't at any risk."
Sean normally fishes out of Ballycastle, but not this year.
"Due to the whole Covid thing, I had to move the boat to Ardglass, which was the only market we could get at the moment," he says.
"When lockdown happened, we all got shut down."
His main buyer supplied restaurants and hotels, but with that market lost overnight, Sean had to find another buyer who sells to retailers.
But the biggest change was setting up his own doorstep delivery service, posting regular updates on a number of buy and sell pages on Facebook.
"I just put up a post on Facebook saying 'We will have monkfish, Dover sole etc'. People send in their order and, come the end of the week, we package it up and deliver it to their door in a refrigerated van," Sean explains.
"I've been that busy that I had to take somebody on to give me a hand. It's something that was caused by all the disruption of Covid, but we're coming out better than what we were.
"I'm hoping to make it a regular thing and keep going afterwards, but it started off short-term to get us out of a hole."
Dean Higgins (28) is skipper of The Ribhinn Donn out of Portavogie. He is married to nursery assistant Diane (28) and has two children, Scarlett (4) and Tyler (2).
Dean caught the fishing bug from his uncle, who owned a boat.
"It's always been in my life. I went fishing in my summer holidays when school was off," he says.
"When I was 16, as soon as I left school, I was fishing and that was it. I was straight out.
"I got the wheelhouse (became skipper of the boat) at 18 and ever since that's been me."
He fished in his uncle's boat for a while, but he recently bought the Ribhinn Donn from another uncle.
"The weather is different every day. You have different problems. It's like a challenge every day," Dean says.
"There's no better feeling on a Friday morning than coming in and it's flat calm and you have a boat full of fish.
"The men are all getting paid and it's a feeling that everything you've done has paid off.
"You've maybe stood on deck for 20 hours every day. Other times you could have stood for 20 hours and not got a good wage with things breaking and things going wrong."
Dean has fished for prawns for a long time but is concentrating on fish at the moment.
"I think fishing is in a good way, but this coronavirus has put a spanner in the works. If the price of prawns and the price of fish goes up, I do think it's promising," he says.
"It has been hard with the EU regulations on mesh sizes. It's one rule after another and we were getting slaughtered.
"If only it would just ease a bit. If you catch cod and you don't have a quota, you have to throw them out - you can't just tell the fish not to go in your net.
"I wouldn't want my son going into it. It's nothing but stress sometimes."
Dean, who has four crew, admits the pandemic has thrown up unexpected challenges.
"We had eight weeks off with the coronavirus and it was tough," he says.
"But we're doing everything as best we can. We're making the best of a bad situation."
Dean normally fishes the North Channel between Bangor and Portpatrick for fish and the Isle of Man and Clyde for prawns.
"Before this coronavirus, we would have been out for four days at a time," he says.
"We try not to work weeks if we can - we try to go out on Sunday night and come back on Friday morning."
He is concerned that the next generation of fishermen isn't coming through.
"I am the only skipper of 28 years of age or younger in Portavogie. I've been in the wheelhouse (instead of working on the deck) since I was 18 or 19 and there hasn't been anybody coming along," Dean says.
"When I was at school, there were a few people who wanted to go fishing, but now there is nobody.
"It used to be when you were coming in with prawns the younger ones would be down giving you a hand and helping you. When you come into the harbour now, it's dead.
"The harbour would have been full of people on a Saturday morning, fixing nets, cleaning boats out and getting stores for the next week, but it's not like that now."
Sea for Yourself is a campaign launched by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to encourage people to cook with UK-caught fish. To learn more and see a list of local suppliers, visit www.fishisthedish.co.uk