The Royal Navy River Class patrol vessels aim to spend around 320 days of the year at sea, with one of their primary roles to help protect England’s fishery grounds – as well as protecting UK waters from greater threats.
Sailors of the three batch 1 fishery protection vessels of the Coastal Forces Squadron (HMS’s Mersey, Tyne and Severn), help to enforce English Maritime jurisdiction regarding fish catches in the Economic Exclusion Zone, as well as enjoying Fish Friday just like the rest of the Fleet on this National Fish and Chip Day.
HMS Mersey is no different, and as such the chefs have been preparing the traditional Friday sailors’ lunch for those who have rejoined the ship after their off-watch rotation.
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Edward Munns said: “We run a system of watch rotation which means we are able to spend about 320 days at sea helping protect the nation’s fishing grounds and ensuring cod and haddock stay firmly as Britain’s favourite dish.
“The three-watch system means for most of us it is about 4 weeks on, and then 2 weeks off. Rather than bring the ship alongside for us to take leave, go on courses or adventurous training, the two active watches can keep Mersey on patrol helping to protect the nation’s fisheries while the third watch is ashore.”
National Fish and Chip Day is a celebration of the nation’s favourite dish and brings together everyone involved in creating this iconic British dish; from Fish & Chip shops, pub chains, restaurants, retailers, to the fishermen and farmers who provide the sustainable and natural ingredients needed to create this family favourite. The founders of the awareness day, trade association, NEODA are delighted that all our incredible armed forces traditionally enjoy fish and chip Fridays and are joining in the celebration.
HMS Mersey operates with a crew of about 32 at any one time, with additional sailors allocated to each department to maintain coverage when watches rotate. The Executive Officer then relives the Commanding Officer when they are off-watch, ensuring the operational tempo doesn’t need to slow.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities (IFCAs), Border Force and the Royal Navy work together to monitor and police fishing in English waters. The devolved authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have responsibility for fishery protection in their own waters.