Blog | Day in the life | May 1954 – Prawn Fishing Starts in Kilkeel

By Tom Griffiths | 9th October 2017

Photo: Mary Joseph, 1956 – Jim Cousins (wheelhouse), Jim Mooney (mast), Jim Stafford & Bob Chambers


The ‘Remembering when’ Series


22 May 1954 | Northern Whig Newspaper headline:


For the first time in the history of the harbour, prawn fishing is now being carried out at Kilkeel by the fishing boat Mary Joseph, skippered by Mr David Wilson. The catches are being bought by an Annalong firm and sent to two canning factories in Ardglass and Belfast.

Prices for prawns ranged from 20s to 30s per box [today’s money this is >£40/box]. Yesterday’s catch sold at 27s per box. The Mary Joseph lands between 14 and 16 boxes per day.

Photo shows: Bonnie Les. Girl Betty . Vervine Blossom. Mary Joseph. Bonnie Ethel

Another local vessel, the Uncle Tom has been equipped for this type of fishing and should commence about the beginning of next week.

Other Kilkeel skippers are very interested in the new venture and if they see that it pays will probably have their boats equipped for prawn fishing.