Ahab's Axplanations

Colleagues,

It would appear that the Amalgamated Union of Grimsby Trawler Operatives were holding their National Conference last month, at the same time as our National Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth. We thought we would ask our old friend Captain Ahab to update us on the hot topics within the Fishery industry. We were once again astounded by the uncanny similarities between what is happening within the Police service and the Fisheries industry. An address by a new minister of state, the spectre of cuts, workforce mix, an upcoming sporting event and a lengthy debate regarding subscriptions. Its as though The Operatives from Grimsby had read our own Conference agenda !

Here is Capt. Ahab's latest update.

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Amalgamated Union 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,

This last week has seen the great assembly that is the Conference of the Piscatorial Federation of England and Wales. Such a gathering of impressively-built follically-challenged men has not been seen in the Northern hemisphere since the last meeting of the Combined Association of Coach-Drivers and East-European Lady Sports-People.

This year's conference was privileged to be addressed by the new Fisheries Minister, resplendent in her red patent-leather sea-boots. Her keynote speech was sufficiently galvanising to draw the gaze of Operatives in the audience away from 7 Across in that day's Telegraph crossword, to listen attentively as she promised that she would leave the running of the Fishing Industry to the Fishermen. She also gave undertakings to remove quotas and targets, and reduce bureaucracy, at which point many of the more cynical operatives returned to their crosswords ('manure, passed by male cow - 8 letters…').

Topmost in every delegates mind this year was the subject of cuts. In these straitened times, the Fishing industry is not immune from financial hardship and there was much talk of reducing 'quayside staff'. This was taken by many to refer to the boatloads of Scratchers, Jaunties, Paybob's, Jam Bosun's and Nipcheeses who ensure that all beans are counted, recounted, checked, verified, sanitised and scrutinised before they are published in various forms of pie-chart, bar-graph, histogram, venn-plot or Bode-Niquist diagram dependent on the intended recipient.

There were words of caution, however, that there were also Operatives working ashore who ensure that all Fisherpersons are properly equipped with their oilskins and Sou'Westers, and can put to sea in well maintained vessels with their nets and deck-equipment in good order. To throw such functions overboard would be doing a disservice to sea-going crews and damage the industry.

Another important debate took place which concerned what proportion of sailors' wages should go to paying for the services provided by the Piscatorial Federation which protect members should they be torpedoed, run aground or are otherwise scuppered. Representatives from the Port of London stood against the tide of opinion, but eventually it was agreed that the proposed increase of a few doubloons, which amounts to less than the cost of a tot of rum in an average quayside tavern, was fair. Operatives were reminded that those who did not think so could revert to the practice of wearing a gold hooped earring so that if they did get washed overboard, then at least there were funds available for a Christian burial.

Delegates were also treated to an address from the Admiral charged with organising the 2012 World Regatta, which will be held in the Port of London. He made it clear that this event will require Operatives from all over the country to be present for such feats of nautical athleticism as Spar-Running and the Greasy Pole. Prison hulks had already been acquired to act as accommodation, in preference to cruise ships where it was unfairly suggested that 'the presence of female entertainers, can-can dancers and the playing of deck-quoits might lead to a collapse in Naval discipline'. An event of such international standing will attract onlookers from rogue states (such as Iceland and the Spanish), and there will therefore be a particular need for Operatives who are authorised to use harpoons.

Yours, paying out to the bitter end,

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

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