Ahab's Axplanations

Colleagues, it seems that the current fiscal crisis is nothing new, as our Old friend Capt Ahab from Grimsby explains in his latest update to his members:

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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,

We have all seen the latest Admiralty Notice concerning the current financial crisis facing our fishing industry. By coincidence I was recently in the Grimsby lending library and found a very interesting document that shows that these dark days are not without precedent. Sandwiched between well-thumbed editions of 'Lust on the Ocean Wave (Illustrated)' and 'Moby Dick' was the letter reproduced below. Apparently penned by an unknown Captain in the late 16th Century, I feel it still has some resonance in our straitened times.

Me Hearties,

Pirating has fallen on Hard Times, and we must all tighten our lifebelts. The income from the Spanish Main is likely to drop by up to 25% in the next four years and so radical savings must be made here on board the 'Black Prawn'.

After paying for masts, spars and sailcloth, the remaining 80% of buccaneering expenditure goes on paying for grog and vittals for our crew. It will come as no surprise therefore that the ship's complement will have to shrink significantly.

It is hoped that 'natural wastage' will account for the majority of this reduction - we must expect that where shipmates fall foul of scurvy, beri-beri or the dhobi-itch, they will receive the usual honours prescribed for a burial at sea, but they are most unlikely to be replaced. There will be the usual numbers being washed, or jumping, overboard, and it is hoped that very few of you will be actually forced to walk the plank.

I am aware that under the Pirate Code, those jolly Jack-Tar's that have served before the mast for three decades or more can be summarily shot with a flintlock. I have no plans to carry this out but I shall be keeping my flintlock cocked and aimed, and my powder dry, just in case.

I will shortly be consulting with my Lieutenants to decide on a new model for pillaging the High Seas, and our new focus is likely to be on sinking ships and stealing treasure. Albeit with no guns, no crew and a ship that's holed below the waterline and sinking fast.

Yours in the poop,

&c

Elsewhere I was surprised to read the most recent signal from the Fishery Resource Unit. The FRC is responsible for ensuring that there are enough Operatives available to put to sea each day, taking into account other commitments such as press-gang duties, leg whittling courses and shore leave. It seems that they are only able to operate a reduced service to the Eastern Fishing grounds for the next week because their Operatives are …er… away on shore leave.

On that hopeful note I wish you God Speed. Yours on the monkey island with the waters lapping at his feet,

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

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