Country Life

Meet the countryside crusaders

The fishermen’s friend

Fred Stroyan, 55

Champion credentials Warden of The Fishmongers' Company (www.fishmongers.org.uk)and New England Seafood founder

I suppose you could say that the sea is my countryside. What gets me out of bed every morning is the world of fishing, plus I’m passionate about sustainability.

New England Seafood, the company that I founded in 1991, began with me supplying lobsters to Billingsgate from a shed in Wandsworth. It now supplies seafood to British supermarkets and restaurants and employs 800 people, including a team to drive sustainability forward. We operate in 40 countries and, rather than beating industries with a proverbial stick, we offer them a prize—a commercial outlet for their fish if they come on the sustainable journey with us. We have seen fisheries transformed as a result.

I was proud to become a member of The Fishmongers’ Company 18 years ago. The company makes a significant contribution to the UK fishing sector and other non-fishery areas through its Philanthropy and Grants schemes. We have given grants to a diverse range of projects, from the planting of a Clink Charity vegetable garden at HMP Styal and the development of the Rivers Trust network (delivering more than £20 million of catchment conservation and management projects) to one of my favourites, the groundbreaking Missing Salmon Project. Run in conjunction with the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the project has tracked 850 salmon smolts in an attempt to discover where so many of them go ‘missing’.

The Princess Royal, who followed in her father’s footsteps when she become prime warden in 2012, has taken a great interest in this project and numerous others. Her commitment to us is extraordinary; she attends many meetings and holds the soon-to-be 750-year-old company in great affection.

I was due to be prime warden this year, but Covid-19 has scuppered all that and my turn will come in 2023. It will be the culmination of decades spent in an industry I love, an affection sparked when, as a small boy living in remote north-west Scotland, with no electricity or telephone in the house, I would spend every waking moment with a fishing rod in my hand.

The forward-thinking landowner

The Duke of Buccleuch, 66

Champion credentials Owner of the Buccleuch estates (www.buccleuch.com)

Back in the 1970s, when my father inherited the title, we began a nomadic lifestyle, moving between three great houses and landed estates (Bowhill, Drumlanrig and Boughton). I love them equally for their different sweeps of countryside and cast of characters, but I sense that, ultimately, I’m hefted to the Border hills like an old sheep.

My attachment to these surroundings is a powerful, emotional one, yet I know that for them to flourish that isn’t enough. One of the virtues of a large estate is to enable balanced use of the land—the right farming for the right terrain, care of the wildlife corridors, subtly integrated woodlands. Managing across the generations for the long term is at its heart.

Such an inheritance brings responsibility, but opportunities, too. It’s a

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