Times Past 11.07.08


THE EEC discussions about herring fishing broke down completely in Brussels this week, leaving the situation in a state of chaos and confusion.

Secretary of the Shetland Fisherman’s Association Mr John Goodlad said yesterday that the meeting was probably the most discouraging he had ever attended. He was very disappointed with the situation. The talks broke down with a veto by the Danes on the herring quota.

All interim quotas have now been taken up with the exception of Denmark’s, and there is a total ban on herring fishing in the North Sea.

Mr Goodlad said that the situation made it impossible for processors and fishermen to plan ahead. He also pointed out that the 1983 catches for all fish had not been agreed yet and with half the year already over. Another aspect of the breakdown in talks is policing. Each boat should have been issued with a log book and 40 EEC inspectors appointed, but so far only five have been interviewed and log books will not be used until November.

Shetland fishermen, he said, were not happy with the Common Fisheries Policy in the first place, but they did not want to see it fall apart. The local management of the herring fishery had been successful, they had avoided herring going for fish meal, and boats had sailed to schedule. Mr Goodlad felt this emphasised the need for a regional policy rather than one between nations.

Gulberwick beach was extensively polluted with oil at the weekend. It is suspected to have come from the klondykers anchored in Lerwick Harbour.

The oil was reported to the council’s pollution control officials at Sullom Voe, who took samples and organised construction department workmen to clear up the mess.

Pollution control officer Mr Jim Dickson said on Monday that he strongly suspected that the source was the klondykers after a surveillance flight of the area on Sunday. On Tuesday samples were taken from the ships in the harbour and these will be sent down to Aberdeen for “finger-printing”. If the samples match with those taken from the Gulberwick beach, prosecutions may follow. However, if the ships have left the area the matter will be reported to the foreign office.


A welcome development in the local Scout movement is the start that has been made to a district crew of Rover Scouts, with Mr Stanley Childs as leader, and half a dozen youths as a first patrol. It is understood that this is the first ever Rover Scout crew in Shetland.

The Rover branch of the movemen t came into being in 1920 to meet the demand of numerous lads ceasing to be Boy Scouts under the age limit of 18, and originally there was no upper age limit. But under new rules with effect from 1st April last year, the upper age limit for being a Rover is 24, and for joining, 22. In Scotland the lower age limit is 16, but no Rover Squire (the term used in the first stage) may be invested as a Rover Scout till he is 17, which is the lower age limit for joining in England.

Mr Childs has been successful in getting six foundation members together aged between 20 and 16, and they have been training now for a few weeks and will carry out a camp this weekend. They are Pat Jamieson, Larry Leslie, Leonard Spence and Ronald Anderson. There is room for more patrols in this crew.

The aims and objects of the Rovers are the same as those of the movement generally, with the increased understanding and ability of mature youths and young men. The new Lerwick Crew is being started by Lerwick Baptist Church, but is quite open to anyone as a District Crew. Anyone wishing information about the Rover branch can get it from Mr Childs or from the County Commissioner, Dr Manson.


Many of our readers will learn with regret of the death of Mr Francis G. Gifford, The Brae, Bressay, which took place in the Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick, early on Wednesday morning. He was admitted to the Hospital on Thursday last week, and on Friday morning an operation was performed on him for an affection of the lung, but his long illness had worn down his strength, and despite all that medical aid and careful nursing could do he gradually sank till the end came.

Deceased was born in the island of Bressay (where his aged parents still reside) in 1855, and had thus completed his 53rd year. After leaving school he went to sea, his first voyage being made in the Dundee whaler Tay, to the whale fishing. For some years after that he went to Greenland; but on that calling showing signs of decay he went south, and made several voyages, generally in sailing ships – for he was a born sailor.
In later years, he joined the steamers of the North of Scotland Company, and steadily rose from A.B. to chief officer – a position which he held for a considerable number of years. Last year he sailed as mate of the s.s. St Rognvald, but by the time the vessel was laid up for the winter, he was beginning to feel unwell, and he went home.

During the whole time since, his health has been very bad, and as he gradually grew worse, the most slender hopes were entertained for his recovery. About fourteen years ago he had a very serious attack of bronchitis, and although he made a wonderful recovery, his health was never the same again.

Deceased was a man of exemplary life, and no one who knew him but held him in the highest esteem. As a neighbour he was kind and obliging, and at sea he was greatly liked as a messmate, and when he became officer his crew were ready to undertake any duty he might order them to do without a murmur, while young lads, going to sea for the first time, were particularly anxious to sail under him, for he always succeeded in leading and never attempted to drive anyone over whom he was placed.


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