'It's no fish ye're buying, it's men's lives'
Fishermen have featured in the food industry for a great many years as generations of them fished in all waters in all weathers to earn a living and at the same time feed nations
There is no typical fisherman and yet we have to tell a story about them and their life. What better way than to use the example of our Vice-chairman, Liam Sparke. A fisherman for most of his life"I started going to sea at aged fifteen. That was in 1964. All beginners start off as a galley boy in order to acquire the necessary sea legs. At sixteen you are allowed to go on deck as a Dekkie learner. At eighteen after two years on the log book and six weeks at NCL school you were then able to get a job as a deck hand full (AB) After four years you could apply for a bosun's ticket or a mates ticket. However you still had to do two years as a bosun before going as a mate. After two years as a mate you could apply for a skippers ticket" "I finished deep sea fishing in 1980 as the cod war and new 200 mile fishing limits for Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia left the deepsea fleet with nowhere to fish. In fact we were made redundant. We did get compensation eventually (fifteen years later) After this happened I went inshore fishing (home waters) from 1980 untill 2004. I had a very bad accident aboard The 'Ocean Trust' which resulted in me being unable to obtain insurance cover for work at sea. That was the end of my fishing career which I miss very much"
Liams poignant ending really sums up the life of a fisherman. It's hard, it's dangerous and yet rewarding. Could these men that serve the nation so well really work in a factory or an office..........?
If you choose to go to sea for a living, you are 50 times more likely to die at work than people in other occupations. (source UK Health & Life Insurance Services published 2013) Of course fishing is now safer than it was, even so there are dangers and there is no escaping the harsh reality of those
Next time you complain about the high cost of fish, think about this quote, 'It's no fish ye're buying, it's men's lives' - Sir Walter Scott (source 'The Antiquary' chapter X1)
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