Film ID:
YFA 1455



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This is a film following the work of a trawler caption on the Ross Valiant stern trawler, fishing off the coast of Labrador. It shows the trawler putting out and hauling in its nets, and unloading and processing its catch in icy seas before returning back home.

The film begins with a man having a bath, out in the Atlantic, 100 miles from Labrador and 2,000 miles from home; he is a trawler captain.

Title - Trawler Captain

Next he is asleep in his cabin when a phone rings besides his bed. He gets up and carries out his duties, including marking his position on a map. As other members of the 24 crew are shown, the narrator explains that they are all highly experienced: there are no learners on board. In the kitchen the cook takes out several loaves from the oven. Although the men only speak to the Captain when spoken to, when they set out this is reversed when the bonded store is opened at the beginning of the trip, as the Captain hands out soap, cigarettes and sweets. The ship they are on is the Ross Valiant (GY.729), an 'all free stern trawler'. The narrator gives an account of its features, including the on board factory. As they approach home the ship is tugged into dock where it joins many steam trawlers, sidewinders. The fishermen are shown getting back on board by a ladder with their kitbags.

Out at sea in gale force winds the fishermen tie lead weights to the nets below deck. A cartoon film is being projected for their entertainment. They then make their way through pack ice drifting in the sea. The rigging is covered with ice from freezing rain. They meet a fleet of other fishing ships, including Russians, Poles, East Germans and West Germans. The Captain chats to the captains of the other vessels over the phone. He learns German as he feels guilty that they speak to him in English. They pick up letters that have put into a barrel and floated on the sea from a Norwegian ship, so that they can be posted more quickly from England.

The net is lowered from the stern. Afterwards the otter boards are lowered, designed to keep the net open as it stretches up to a mile behind the vessel. The winchmen ensure that the net stays in place without breaking. It is then hauled aboard with a large catch of 20 tons of cod. The fish are emptied into the holding. Once unloaded the fishermen get to work taking out the livers, and the fish go onto a conveyer belt to be frozen in special blocks. These are sent down a shoot into a refrigeration space. The narrator emphasises the importance of the captain as the ship makes its way back.

Written and Directed by Simon Campbell-Jones
Cameraman John McCallum
Electrician Peter Bliss
Editor Geoff Muller
Sound Peter Bliss
Narrator Duncan Carse
Produced by David Cobham
The film is dedicated by the Ross Group to fishermen throughout the world