Day 39

25th November 2001

There was a reasonable catch of redfish today, so I think everybody is happy with the decision to move back down to the Tail. I don’t know why they call it the Nose and Tail of the Bank as it suggests that the Grand Banks are in the shape of an animal, but they don’t look like any animal I’ve ever seen, and just lately I’ve seen more than my fair share of strange looking animals among the catch, and aboard the ship.

There is a noticeably better atmosphere on board when the catch is good. The officers take shares of the total value of the catch, so for them there is a financial incentive to fill up the hold, and to fill it with the most valuable fish possible. The crew get paid a fixed daily rate, but I’m not sure if they get an additional percentage-based bonus. Perhaps their incentive to see the hold getting full, is the thought of going home sooner. There is definitely a psychological boost to seeing a good catch come in, and even I, as an independent observer feel it. That leaves me grappling with being torn between being happy to see that we are fishing well, and another part of me that doesn’t like to see tonnes of fish and bycatch being scooped out of the sea in this way. The only way I can reconcile my inner fisherman with my inner biologist, is to collect good data and trust that the management of the fishery is robust enough to protect the fish stocks in the longer term. But I have my doubts about that too.

Tonight I made an excel spreadsheet for Miguel which takes care of all the conversion factors and running totals he had until now been tapping out individually on a calculator. It should save him a lot of time, but better still there should be fewer errors.

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