Friday, April 18, 2008

The Great Smell Of Fish

Jesus, where did this wind come from? And what is it with the wind that it can blow in different directions at once, or seem to. This morning, going along the road into Puerto Alcudia, there was what looked like mist ahead. In fact it was a sort of mini sand-storm. In the afternoon, the wind turned round and started blowing a gale from the south. April is probably the most damn contrary and obstreperous month of all. The weather can never seem to let it lie. Always up to some trick or other. There's me wanting to take some lovely photos across the pinewalk, and the wind blows the equivalent of the Sahara straight at me. Actually, I made that up. I postponed the appointment because of the Sahara, though it wouldn't have been the Sahara as that's in the other direction, but you know what I mean, or maybe you don't.

But to matters of greater weight. The season is not even started and there is more fretting about jellyfish. Some eminent Spanish scientist is arguing that the Med is going to become like "jellyfish soup" (whatever that's like) because of over-fishing and the consequent abundance of the tentacled monsters. In fact, we may get a chance to find out what jellyfish soup is like as there won't be any other fish left apart from jellyfish. That's if Spain carries on its fishing policies, and the Government keeps handing over subsidised folding notes to the fishermen to go out and decimate the stocks of tuna etc. Haven't we been here before with the Spanish and fishing? Didn't the British have a run in over quotas and all that malarkey? There does seem a bit of imbalance in some European governments' approaches. Like the French and the farmers, ditto the Spanish and the fishermen. Anyway, this eminent scientist is calling for a 50% reduction in catches. Fat chance. They'll merrily go on fishing until the last sardine's been barbecued and then the fishermen will ask for some further hefty subsidy so that they can go and do something else, like building golf courses no one wants.

It is part of the local culture that regulations are there to be ignored, and fishing is a good example. Now, the tourist coming along with his rod is hardly deep-sea fishing and a great threat to the tuna stocks, but there is many a tourist who comes here to enjoy some angling past-time. And plenty of tourists ask about fishing on the Internet. "Where's best to go?" etc etc. I've given up letting people know that, officially, you are meant to have a licence, because all you get back is some reply that goes along the lines of "I've been fishing in Mallorca since Nelson was a lad, and never etc, etc ..." And of course that's the case. The plod don't bother, or seemingly they don't bother to check up on licences. The fact is that it is actually very cheap to get a licence - around 11 or 12 euros for a year if memory serves. But the problem is getting a licence. The nearest office is in Sa Pobla, and the form requires typical all manner of local bureaucratic nonsense. As a consequence, no one bothers. Yet if, say, there were to be fishing stamps that could be bought at the tabacs and other places, might this not bring in a bit of income? A euro for a fortnight's permission. That wouldn't be too bad. The trouble is though no one would buy them unless there were dirty great notices up saying that anyone found without a licence will be fed to the fishes. Even then, the police still wouldn't bother.

I suppose if the national government is quite happy to let fishermen trouser taxpayers' money to go and empty the sea of its fish life, then that's a good enough lead to say that actually we don't really care if you do go fishing, with a licence or not; regulation or no regulation. And finally ... I really hope we don't end up having to eat jellyfish. Doubtless there are Chinese and Pacific Islanders who swear by them, but if you've ever seen a purple stinger beached and pulsing its final moments, it's the last thing you'd want to take down your neck.

QUIZ: Yesterday - Big Country, and I can report that Geoff mailed to say he once bought a Big Country record in Cala Millor, which in itself should inspire me to a piece about record shops or the lack thereof. Watch this space. Today's title? And like the weather, I'm feeling a tad contrary myself. So, where the hell does this come from? Not a song. Radio. Think a DJ and posse.


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