Thanks to a life-long hobby in amateur radio, one keen fish and chip shop customer has taken fish traceability to a whole new level.
Retired agricultural worker David Hall, 74, from Ruskington, has been noting down the trawler names that The Elite Fish and Chip Company shop in his village display.
These are blackboards that are updated every week to show where the Elite’s fish has been caught that week.
Using his tablet computer and amateur radio equipment, he has then been tracking them down to see where their current positions might be.
“I’ve been interested in wireless radio since I was a boy and my uncle and I used to build crystal, or ‘cat’s whiskers’ radios for fun,” said David.
“I’ve had army surplus radios and receivers over the years and used to listen in over the waves to channels as far away as Russia and Africa. I even managed to hear the research base in Antarctica once!”
David, who lives in Ruskington, has been a long-standing customer at Elite and has been keenly following the trawlers each week via his iPad.
“Now I’ve got a way to look at the information live, I can see where the trawlers are. I’ve always followed trawlers as I’m originally from Grimsby and it was fascinating to hear what was going on at sea.
“I also follow aircraft and I used to follow Concorde’s progress when it was in service. With technology getting more sophisticated it’s easier than ever to look up the information.”
Staff were thrilled to hear David’s story. Jane Wright, manager at the Ruskington restaurant, said: “We know David from his many visits, but we did notice him writing down the names of the trawlers a few times. When we found out what he was doing we were really interested. We know where our fish comes from, but finding out where the vessels are exactly is fascinating.”
Elite owner Adrian Tweedale said: “We are incredibly proud to be Marine Stewardship Council-approved. This means that our fish comes from suppliers who ensure it has been caught from sustainable stocks and we’re not harming threatened fish species.
“What our customer David is doing is underlining our commitment to keeping the world’s oceans safe for the future. We’re glad he has started to track our supplying fleets. It makes you appreciate just how much work goes into bringing in the fish we serve.”
To find out where the Elite’s fish has been caught every week, look out for the blackboards in the takeaways and restaurants or follow Elite on Facebook and Twitter, where they are updated weekly too.