More poems, it seems to me, have been written about merchant sailors than about commercial fishermen. I find this rather odd. Fishermen, after all, have a much harder time eking out a living at sea.
The expression “to swear like a fishwife” evokes the image of a loud and foul-mouthed woman. Although the analogy has the ring of truth, it does not do justice to the fishwives of old. These women, who were often wives or daughters of fishermen, epitomised strength, industry and fortitude. Consider the tasks that they usually had to perform:
Fishermen are the invisible ones (not the seafarers as the IMO and the maritime unions and charities falsely portray them). Hopefully, the following oil paintings will shine some light on the lives of fishermen, these toilers of the sea who deserve everyone’s gratitude.
The shipping industry should stop this silly talk about seafarers being invisible. How can they be out of sight and out of mind? Seafarers love to post selfies on Facebook. And there is constant warbling from the maritime do-gooders about the rights and mental health of mariners that is louder than the song of a blue whale.
No sir, the really invisible ones are the fishermen who eke out a living from the sea. They are seldom in the media spotlight. Unsung, they face greater dangers in the course of their work than do merchant sailors. Yet, how many would spare a thought for these hardy folks?