Ahab's Axplanations


Federation of Grimsby Trawler Operatives

Ahab's Axplanations

An occasional column explaining the workings of the Amalgamated Fishery Management in a lighthearted yet informative manner.

Dear Fellow Operatives,

In these times of fiscal constraint I have been asked to notify Operatives of the following item which has recently been made part of Ships' Articles.


The Grimsby Fishery is committed to reducing the environmental, financial and social impacts from travel to and from the fishing grounds. This means both looking at ways to reduce nautical miles traveled and also identifying methods of transport with lower carbon emissions per mile, reduced cost, and improved safety on coastal waters.


Can the fish be caught on line?
If so, these should always be the first option to help remove all CO2 emissions and the cost per voyage, including travel time. Try www.webuyanycod.com. Or possibly eelbay.

Can the voyage be carried out by pedalo, scull, skiff, coracle or breaches-buoy?
If so, these should always be the next option to help remove all CO2 emissions and the bulk of the cost per voyage. Calloused hands caused by frictious gripping can be treated in the sickbay.

Can the fishing be carried out from public transport - cross-channel ferry or water taxi?
Public transport is an especial requirement for all journeys between ports. It is a safer mode of transport than personal watercraft, and generally results in lower emissions, except where Operatives take advantage of the Five-Bean Salad or curried cauliflower options on the EarlyBird menu in the truck drivers' onboard cafeteria.

Will a chartering a vessel be cost effective?
For round trips over 60 nautical miles, Operatives are required to charter a vessel. To charter a vessel, please attend the Baltic Exchange. Alternatively you may prefer to loiter on Grimsby quayside in the hope that a friendly sailor might pay for your passage. Costs may be further reduced by press-ganging crew at any low-grade grog-shop.

Where none of the above options is available, personal watercraft may be used for round trips under 70 nautical miles.
Operatives may only use their personal watercraft for journeys under 70 nautical miles provided that approval has been given in advance of setting sail and they are able to demonstrate to their Captain that they have contemplated all of the above options and be able to evidence this by use of charts, enthalpy-entropy printouts and Bode-Niquist diagrams. They must then produce the following documents on demand:

  • A valid Department of Trade watchkeeping certificate (Class 2 or higher)
  • Full insurance at Lloyds of London
  • Up-to-date marine survey certificate and service history
  • Crossing the Line Certificate
  • Inoculations certificate for the Ship's Cat
  • A current up-to-date valid treasure map and triplicate copies of The Black Spot if available.

Music On Board Ship

With regret I must announce that the Board of Trade has withdrawn the Fishery's license to broadcast music by electronic means in vessels and shore side establishments. Many Operatives enjoy the lilting strain of a Sea Shanty as they mend their nets, or a rousing hornpipe as they polish their tackle.

As from 1st February, due to a change in the Board of Trade licensing conditions, wireless sets must be treated in the same way as certain gentlemen's speciality publications, in that they may only be used in the privacy of one's own cabin with nobody else present to share the enjoyment that comes from a good broadcast.

Those who enter such cabins, machinery control rooms, steering flats, paint stores or engine room spaces are advised that they MUST cease to listen before they actually go in, thereby removing the risk of their accidentally hearing any music. (This is a skill which many married Operatives have perfected in their domestic situations and will require little adaptation).

Accordions, squeezeboxes and fiddling remain exempt, as are foghorns and other audible warning devices.

Yours, listing to port with hands to boat stations,

Capt A. Hab (M.N. Ret'd)

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