Day 42

28th November 2001

My figures and the reported figures continue to be at odds, and I think I know why, but I can’t believe it. I’ve been over and over it but the only explanation is that they are up to no good. I’ll try to explain:

Our catches are fluctuating daily between good catches of large fish, and rubbish catches of small fish – It was this change in the fish that got me thinking. When I looked at where we were fishing I could see that there were two distinct fishing areas, one yielded good catch, one yielded a poor catch. I asked myself why steam back and forth to a new area which you knew wasn’t as good as the one you were in? And it dawned on me that the good fish were being caught in 3N, and the poor catches were coming from 3O – two subdivisions on the Tail of the bank. The thing is each subdivision has different rules, so in 3O redfish is ‘free’ but in 3N they are regulated and you are only allowed to catch a certain amount. I think the Captain has been declaring the fish caught in 3N as caught in 3O, and vice versa. Sort of laundering the illegally caught fish through 3O where they are not regulated.

One patch of water looks the same as another – but the regulations are very different

If I’m right he is very clever, because if we get inspected the amount of fish in the hold will match the amount of fish declared, the logbook will show that we have been fishing in both divisions, therefore it will be my word against his as to which proportions of the catch were caught in each division. I guess a wiley Fisheries Inspector might question why the vessel kept switching from one division to the next, but they wouldn’t be able to prove in court that the fish caught in one area was reported in another.

I’m not one hundred percent sure I’m right, but now I have an idea of what might be going on I’ll be able to keep a closer eye on things over the next few days.

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