The Royal Navy and Fishery Protection (ePub)
From the Fourteenth Century to the Present
From the first recorded mention of British ships protecting of fishing vessels in the late fourteenth century through to recent controversies over the change in emphasis to border patrols and overseas deployments, the story of the Royal Navy’s ‘Cinderella Fleet’ involves many dramatic incidents; until now, however, there has never been a book dedicated to the subject. Naval historian Jon Wise’s new work will rectify this omission.
Historically there have been two main reasons why protecting fishing vessels was so important: first, fish have always constituted an essential part of the nation’s diet while, secondly, fishermen have been an important source of skilled personnel for the Royal Navy itself. It is claimed that the Fishery Protection Squadron (FPS) is the oldest in the fleet, pre-dating the formal creation of the Navy itself in the early part of the sixteenth century, yet it still remains comparatively little-known. The Squadron’s most famous operations were the ‘Cod Wars’ of 1958–76, but for six centuries it has been engaged in the many important tasks of protection and policing of fishing fleets, though more recently it has turned its attention to patrolling oil and gas fields, overseeing quotas and sustainability, and policing the ongoing disagreements over who can fish where and when.
The author covers subjects as diverse as the battles with the Dutch for dominance in the North Sea, the protection of fishing on the eastern seaboard of America, and the role of the Squadron in the two World Wars. Containing many first-hand accounts, this thought-provoking narrative will be of particular interest to all those RN personnel who have served in the Squadron, and is set to become the definitive account of this vital but often unsung component of Britain’s naval forces, and its impact on national life.
"Dr Jon Wise has published an important historical record based on comprehensive research and providing extensive ‘Notes’ of all his sources. This is a highly recommended, readable and interesting publication."John M Bingeman - Royal Navy Sailing Association
As featured inWarships International Fleet Review, November 2023
This book is highly recommended.Naval Review
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"An interesting read recommended to the many men who have served in the Fishery Protection Squadron."Navy Daze, The Ton Class Association
Review as featured inThe Armourer - November 2023
The book is not just about the work of the RN protecting and policing the fishing fleet. Trawlers have played a significant role whether it be mine sweeping and ASW roles in both World Wars or intelligence gathering in the Cold War years. The author in his acknowledgements points out that he needed a “large amount of primary source research”, an understatement given the comprehensive notes and bibliography but he has more than succeeded in producing a masterly, good solid read on a vital part of the nation’s seafaring history. He is to be congratulated on writing what must be the definitive story of RN fishery protection.Peter Wykeham-Martin, Warship World
As featured inLincolnshire Pride
Overall, this is a thoughtfully-written and well-researched book that will be of interest to both naval professionals and those responsible for the laws covering the unfettered movement of shipping across the oceans and within the vast economic exclusion zones that now exist. The problems and arguments that Wise describes focus on British fishing fleets and their protection when needed but they have much wider relevance and can be cross-referenced to many of the issues that complicate sea governance today, not least in the South China Sea. I thoroughly recommend it.Australian Naval Institute
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Featured inAssociation of Royal Navy Officers newsletter