Ahab's Axplanations

Union of Grimsby Trawler Operatives

Ahab's Axplanations

An occasional column explaining the workings of the Fishery Management in a light hearted yet informative manner

Dear Fellow Operatives,

At the end of last year the Fishing Industry was all set to batten-down the hatches and throw everything overboard as we hurtled towards the 'Cod Spending Review', which all predicted would strip the Fishing Industry of everything except a rusty tin bath fitted with a British Seagull outboard motor and a Fisher-Price 'My First Fishing Rod'. It therefore came as a huge relief to all when, at the last moment, the Admiralty decided to belay the cuts, and promised to continue Fishery funding for another three years.

Of course, nothing is straightforward in the world of funding for the Fishing Industry. I recall a sailor waking up in the sick-bay after a shark-attack off the Horn. When he awoke after a long operation he said to the Ship's Surgeon "Doctor, I can't feel my legs!". "I'm not surprised", replied the surgeon -"I've just cut your hands off". And this is true of Fishery funding - we have retained the funding for the 'legs', but there are still painful cuts to be worked through. To that end, a team of Operatives, headed by a Vice Admiral, is currently studying navigational charts, meteorological forecasts, tarot cards and the ouija board in order to "Recalibrate" the Fishing Industry here in the East.

The term "Recalibrate" has a noble history in the maritime world, having been famously used by Churchill in 1940 when he directed the Royal Navy to 'recalibrate' several French warships in the harbour at Mers-El-Kebir using 16-inch shells before they could fall into enemy hands. One can only hope that the result of the current exercise is somewhat less traumatic.

Operatives know that catching a Fish is all very well, but it is of no use if it is not processed properly and then presented to a high standard - in fact the Cod Packaging Service (CPS), whose job it is to sell the Fish, have been saying that all too often they have opened up a crate expecting it to be beautifully a presented turbot, only to find a bucket of fetid sprats. To this end the Admiralty has instigated "Op Dace", a Crate Management quality improvement plan. The department who used to oversee the quality of Crates was 'recalibrated' a few months ago in the same manner as the French fleet at Mers-El-Kebir, and their work has now passed to a small crew of experienced Operatives whose task it is to send out large numbers of emails. Any operative submitting a Crate which falls below the National Fish Standard can expect a lick of the cat.

There have been several incidents recently where Trawler Crews have placed sensitive dockets, fishing equipment or other items on top of the wheelhouse of their vessel, and then put to sea. This has then blown away in the wind, never to be seen again. Operatives are reminded that they should keep a grip of their tackle at all times, and that failure to do so will render them liable to the usual maritime punishments such as being keel-hauled, walking the plank or having one's belly shaved with a rusty razor (earl-aye in the morning).

Yours, cracking on the dimity, Capt A. HAB (M.N. Ret'd).