When the flag becomes another member of the crew

Beto Rodriguez admits with a smile that he always has A “special bond” with the sea. A relationship that led him to jump from the University of Santiago de Compostela to swordsmith in the Pacific; Hundreds of kilometers away from his homeland, Naron. He did it not as a sailor, but as a fisherman Scientific observer; Its first period was long, lasting five months; And only in the end he realized The “bittersweet taste” of arriving at port and having to say goodbye to the rest of the crew. “You're happy that you're back, but you're also sad that you're leaving these people that you lived with 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he recalls. From that baptism on the high seas to the second time the ship was re-enlisted, only a few months passed.

In both cases it was long lines, Although on this last occasion The campaign took place in the North Atlantic. On board the Mariane Dos, in the company of Joaquin Cadilla, president of A Guarda Longline, the 28-year-old has been collecting data for the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) that can now be used Implementation of doctoral theses also Studies carried out by the entity. specific, It documented all the species the ship interacted with, and think about objective and incidental catches. A masterful job, without a doubt, and completely different from the rest of his colleagues.

A parting gift is the buoy that accompanied the fishermen and scientific observer on their final journey across the North Atlantic

“In the beginning, before getting on the plane, I always had this fear. After all, we biologists are non-crew members, and we can even be considered an organic being.” The enemy of your interests. But it's a matter of getting to the boat and explaining to them that this is not the case, that we are going there to do Demographic analysis and that these analyzes will often be favorable “This is in their interests,” Peto explains, stressing that the two experiments were “exceptional” and that they confirm the great selectivity of the equipment used: “one of the reasons behind the sustainability of this type of fishing.”

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As for life on board, Rodriguez believes that success in achieving a calm atmosphere on board lies in cooperationregardless of whether the communication converges in the same language or must necessarily include signs, since a large part of the sailors and fishermen with whom it coincided were foreign. “From the first moment you try to help with everything you can. In the fishing park, they are the people who have to help you, so you want to reciprocate that help by helping with anything. “If you have to carry fish anywhere… you try to help So they can see that you are one of them,” he points out. By doing this he manages to feel like someone else.

As a testament to the bond created during their last journey, Between December and February, the crew of the Mariani Dos gave him a gift the day before departure. “Because there was such a good relationship, they were thinking of giving me a gift and in the end that was the case A buoy is one of the ones that were in all the sets at sea“They thought it could be a good memory, and all their colleagues dutifully signed it, including me,” says Beto.

The general obstacle that scientific observers face in their daily lives does not respond to coexistence, at least in Rodriguez's case, but to their circumstances. For this reason, the Association of Professionals in Marine Scientific Monitoring (Apocm) was created in 2022, an entity with 148 participants, including this Galician, which fights for its own agreement, fairer salaries and reduced transactions equal to those of others. Maritime professionals: “That's what hinders our ability to make a long-term living from this.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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