Naming ceremony symbolises fishing industry optimism

The commissioning of a new trawler is always symbolic of much more than its physical presence on the water. Nine times out of 10, a boat encapsulates a family’s, and even a community’s, hopes and dreams.

And the Summer Rose was no different.

Named at a ceremony accompanied by a piper and led by a minister from the Mission to Seafarers in April 2017, she left our Whitby yard destined for Oban in the west of Scotland, where she is now fishing for scallops.

John MacAlister, her new owner, travelled down from Scotland for the ceremony with an array of family and friends, for a full day and night of celebrations.

A symbol of optimism

John explained that, although it is not yet clear what the outcome of the ongoing negotiations about the UK’s exit from the European Union will mean for the nation’s fishermen, the new vessel is an example of how owners like him are trying to be pragmatic.

“We’re working in an industry which is facing great uncertainty but we can’t stand still,” said John.

“With the Brexit negotiations about our fisheries now expected to continue until 2020, we have no clear strategy for the next four to five years, but we are trying to keep moving ahead and investing, hence why we have commissioned this boat.”

The Summer Rose shares its name with the first boat John bought 41 years ago, when he joined the fishing industry straight from leaving school.

Since then, he has expanded his fleet to 10 boats and now works onshore as CEO of three sister fishing companies: John MacAlister (Oban) Ltd, the Star Fishing Company and the Q VARL Fishing company, all of which specialise in catching scallops around the coast of the UK, mainly for the European market.

And it’s become very much a family affair over the past 40 years. John’s son Ian is following in his father’s footsteps and skippers the Summer Rose, accompanied by Ian Fletcher as relief skipper.

The best of times

Sally Atkinson for Parkol said: “The Summer Rose is the third vessel that Parkol has built for John MacAlister, and we have a longstanding relationship which continues to go from strength to strength.  

“The confidence in the fishing industry and the amount of new vessels on order is unprecedented. During the Brexit negotiations and the impending transition period it is vitally important that the Government provides a clear and coherent strategy inclusive of all stakeholders, that will protect and foster the fishing industry for future generations.”

If you are considering commissioning a new vessel and think you would benefit from a no-obligation initial chat about your requirements, you can contact us via or (01947) 602669.