Guy Grieve, shellfish diver

The Ethical Shellfish Company in Tobermory on the island of Mull.

We are very careful on the boat. There is no macho talk, because that is what gets you killed. There are no thrill-seekers in this game. It can be very exciting but you don’t go out looking for it. Wind and weather are the boss. They tell us where to fish and for how long. But they and the tide help too – scallops feed on currents so if we follow the currents we often find the scallops. The original motivation for calling ourselves the Ethical Shellfish Company came from getting a licence that allowed us to go into this great garden and take as much as we wanted all year round. That’s really powerful – so powerful, in fact, that without ethics it can be tyranny. We knew we had to fish in a way that justifies the great privilege we’ve been given. I sometimes think I wouldn’t mind being a farmer, especially in November and December when you drive past the fields and see the farms all tucked up for the winter. But for us in the darkest months of the year we are out at sea. It’s a physically tough job but I’m consoled by the fact that I’ve got a couple of wonderful old-timers working with me, both in their 60s and both in great shape. It certainly keeps you fit – you’re swimming for three or four hours every day.  The waters of north-west Scotland are pretty hard work.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 188-189, issue 100.

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Interviews Judy Diamond
Photography Neale Smith