FOR Robert Latimer, it has been a real family affair.

Today, his Latimer’s Seafood venture operates as a deli and café business, enjoying sweeping views of the sea from which its hauls are caught.

It started with two staff in 2002 but now has 23 workers across the two businesses, with Mr Latimer supported by wife Ailsa Latimer.

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It is very much a team effort with Mr Latimer’s industrious family, third generation Whitburn fishing stock, and the site itself, long owned by the family.

The bungalow behind the shop is where he was born.

“My family has close links with the fishing community; people remember we actually ran a petrol station from this site.

“My grandfather, who taught me to fish when I was five, built the garage and the family bungalow from sand and gravel off the beach.

“My nanna ran the petrol station, my dad ran the haulage business and my dad and grandad used to sell wild salmon in the garage.”

From these beginnings, Mr Latimer developed his love of seafood and indulged his passion by attending Dumfries College and Sterling University in Scotland to study salmon farming, becoming a salmon farmer and training as a lobster and crab pot fisherman.

Later he bought a fishing boat to become a professional creel fisherman on the Isle of Luing, fishing for crab, langoustines and lobster before returning to Whitburn and turning his hand to fishmongery.

He said: “I’ve been very lucky to indulge my passion for the sea in many forms, although now it seems that given my upbringing it was inevitable.

“In Argyle, on the west coast of Scotland at Loch Craignish and Loch Fyne, I worked a salmon farm where the nearest road was three and half miles away.

“I also took to fishing for lobster and crab with pots and diving for scallops, and eventually bought a fishing boat and fished for crab, lobster, langoustines from the Isle of Luing.

“That’s an amazing place and has the third largest whirl pool in the world.

“I came back to the region and could apply all I had learned over the years for the benefit of the customer.

“I’m fortunate business has gone from strength-to-strength and continuing the family tradition running a business in Whitburn.

“We are fortunate in this part of the world.

“We have the local fishing fleet up here, reading the tides for the best catches, and knowledge is passed down from one generation to the next.”

It is this insight that informs everything done at Latimers, from the 90 per cent locally-sourced seafood, to the painstaking preparation of seafood platters, pies and fish cakes.

Mr Latimer travels seven mornings a week, most from 3am, to maintain his relationships with the fishing community and sustain supplies.

Sustainability and balance are the cornerstones of the business, he says.

“We can track our seafood from boat to plate and with the sea on our doorstep our customers can look out of the café windows and spot some of the boats that are catching their fish,” he said.

“I have a long-established network of hardworking fisherman along the coastline and they know I give them a good price, one that allows both of us to stay in business.

“If we’ve got the freshest haddock, halibut, salmon, crab, langoustines, I can guarantee that no one else has fresher seafood products than us – especially the supermarkets.

“Our customers get a premium product at a better price and that is why our business does well.”

Five minutes with... Robert Latimer

Favourite North-East building and why? Dunstanburgh Castle. It highlights the strengths of the Northumberland coastline, you can almost see the Vikings coming across.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? As a 13-year-old boy, my father had me working in his haulage business and on a farm in Hexham. But my first paid job outside the family was as a salmon farmer.

What is the worst job you've had? Never had a job I didn’t want or like. I consider myself very fortunate.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? Local langoustines or red gurnard and chips.

What would your superpower be? Breathing under water.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Polar explorer; Dame Ellen MacArthur, the sailor; a Viking king; and Hugh Falkus, the filmmaker and angler.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? A top of the range display refrigerator, which cost £40,000. I worried long and hard about that.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? David Attenborough.

Favourite book? Cod: A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World, by Mark Kurlansky.

When did you last cry? Last year, when I was bitten by a brown crab. It crushed my finger nail…

What is your greatest achievement? My family and building Latimer’s from scratch.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Follow your instincts.

Favourite animal and why? The Atlantic salmon because of its incredible migration and what it goes through.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? Signe Johansen, the Norwegian author who did a book launch here at Latimer’s, as well as in New York and London.

What was the last band you saw live? Irish/Scottish band The Waterboys. I love the album Fisherman’s Blues and it was the first dance at my wedding.

Describe your perfect night in: Boxing Day night with the family.

In another life I would be... A Viking king.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Robbie Coltrane

What irritates you? Rubbish and pollution.

What's your secret talent? Knitting, which is a result of my young farmers days at Whitley Chapel. The last garment I knitted was a scarf.