I had a call from Professor Alastair Couper. He has a great record of working for seafarers at Cardiff University and now with Seafarers Rights International. Alastair is researching a book on the abuses that fishing boat crews suffer. If he covers them all it will be a very long book, because for anything that is bad in shipping’s treatment of seafarers, things are much, much worse for fishermen. Alastair calls them “Fishers”, which is the gender-neutral term, but as there are hardly any female fishermen and it is hard to say it seems unnecessary.
Somali piracy began as a way of making foreign fishing boats pay for fishing in Somali waters and attacks on fishing boats continue. They get much less publicity than attacks on merchant ships, and all too often the owner is in no hurry to pay up and get his fishing boat and crew back.
If you have any information on Somali piracy and fishing boats contact Seafarers Rights International and they can put you in touch with Professor Couper. Anything that helps highlight the plight of fishing folk is worth getting out into the light of day.