Shortly after the last of the Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland in 1976
a 200 mile ring fence was placed around the fishing grounds off Iceland, effectively cutting
off the grounds to the once mighty deep sea fishing fleet of Hull. Almost overnight, the
entire fleet was laid to waste and the men who sailed in the fishing ships were let go en masse.
Cast adrift on dry land men who were once adventures on the high seas found themselves
floundering for work, often work totally unsuited to there way of life.
Men once asked to spy to for the British government on Russia during the Cold War,
bring home food for the nation and engage in one of the country’s most dangerous j
jobs and did it all with pride were diluted to the job centre queue. And with only ever
been considered casual labour by the deep sea fishing industry itself they found neither
recompense nor redundancy until it was fought for. In fact, the struggle for any redundancy
payments at all is still today considered one of the longest court cases in British legal history,
with many of the men dying in debt before any payments were made to them
and they were recognised as legitimate workers.
The ‘Old Salts’ of Hull are fighters not afraid of conditions that would chill any normal man to the marrow.
And after so much hardship both at sea and on land thereafter are proud still of who they once were.
And who they are today.