AN OPEN LETTER
MINISTER, WE IDENTIFY AS 'FISHERMEN' AND NOT 'FISHERS'
Having read the piece on Minister Charlie McConalogue’s Q&A in the Irish Examiner on Sat 6th Jan 2023, and your subsequent response, one particular small word, and its significance, has pushed me over the edge and compelled me to write this letter to see how others in the industry feel about the "F" word - yes, ‘Fishers’.
I served my time as a fisherman at sea for over 20 years and I am very proud to say that I worked with some great fishermen and their communities.
I for one find this term ‘Fisher’ offensive and I feel like I have had a hybrid heritage reassignment operation carried out on me and my past as if it never existed.
The word ‘fishermen’ was good enough to put in the Bible as referring to people that caught fish, maybe we should rewrite the Bible while we are at it?
We now live in a world where there seems to be a constant need for ‘politically correct' (PC) use of the english language and where there are fears that some people are offended by certain terms, regardless of the fact that changing such terms may insult the majority, just to protect the feelings of the minority.
Well I for one am very offended to have my trade, my culture, my heritage and that of our forefathers erased from the face of the earth — wiped out by some civil servant that thinks the word ‘fisherman’ is somehow offensive, and then replacing it with a gender neutral hybrid version called a ‘fisher’.
The rebranding of a group of people, and their communities, is a sinister move in my opinion.
You could call it ethnic cleansing - a way of concealing the injustices inflicted on this group of people.
The journey to exterminate this once-proud group of people is well advanced this is my opinion is the last chapter if we don't shout “STOP”.
This way of changing terms has crept into our industry in recent years and is nowhere more evident in the transition of the title of Ireland’s ‘fishing industry’ to the sexier-sounding ‘seafood sector’ - another step in the alienation of Irish fishermen - the people who actually put their lives in danger to go to sea and catch the fish that keeps the ‘seafood sector’ afloat.
The same PC-friendly crew are happy to see our livelihoods, our heritage & history, and our culture annihilated and, so as to complete the process, they think the best thing to do is to remove the word ‘fisherman’ from the dictionary.
Enough is enough, Fishermen, their culture and way of life needs to be protected and recognised for its contribution to Irish society for thousands of years and for the future contrubution for food security. I also think it needs to be designated the appropriate status. Minority ethnic status or similar... a protected status and recognised identity.
Who was the bright spark that introduced this derogatory term into the minister's vocabulary?
Why was this deciosion taken to rebrand/ bastardise?
Were the fishermen consulted on this matter ?
Who or what exactly is a fisher? Are recreational anglers also ‘fishers’ or is it just commercial fishermen and women that have been given this title?
Isn’t it time that our fishing communities were given such protected status?
I think a poll should be carried out asking fishermen and fisherwomen how they would like to identify? Fisher or fishermen/fisherwoman?
After speaking to many in the industry I am confident of the outcome of any such poll and I suggest that a letter is then written to the relevant bodies letting them know how we want to be identified and that we will take action if we are refered to as anything different.
NOTE: 13 Oct 2015 — Robin Meadows, a science writer in San Francisco, says she uses “fishermen” to avoid confusion— as a “fisher” is also the name of an ‘adorable animal’ ...
For Charlie McConalogue’s information, the photo below is a ‘Fisher’ — the fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a small carnivorous mammal native to North America, a forest-dwelling creature whose range covers much of the boreal forest in Canada to the northern United States. It is a member of the mustered family (commonly referred to as the weasel family), and is in the monospecific genus Pekania. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as a fisher cat, even though it is not a cat.