From November to January each year, the city of Hobart, Tasmania, cecomes home for the seamen of the Japanese Tuna Flect.
From November to January each year, the city of Hobart, Tasmania, cecomes home for the seamen of the Japanese Tuna Flect. Those are the months when the tuna shoals mass in the waters off the Tasman coast.
Last year, the 150-boat Japanese fleet spent more that GBP 1 million on supplies in Hobart. The crewmen -- twenty per boat -- spend another GBP 300,000 during shore leave.
The city is making sure the sailors get a touch of home while they are ashore. A Japanese Seamen's Club was opened last year. The Post Office and the shopkeepers have printed special forms and display signs in Japanese to make it easier for the seamen to shop and transact business.
SYNOPSIS: Hobart Harbour, Tasmania. From November to January each year this is home-base for the hundred and fifty-boat Japanese fishing fleet that works the tuna grounds a hundred miles off Tasmania's coast.
Tuna fishing is tough, dangerous and hectic. The seamen are glad of a few days rest in Hobart. The town too is glad to have them. During shore leave the crewmen -- twenty per boat -- spend more than three hundred thousand pounds in a seaon. The fleet itself spends a million pounds on supplies in Hobart.
The town has done its best to make them welcome. Few speak more than a few words of English. In the post office, special forms have been printed in Japanese to help seamen to transact business and to send money home.
The fishermen's lack of English tends to isolate them socially. Usually they must depend on oen another for company. To give them a place where they could relax and enjoy a bit of home, the Japanese Seamen's Club was opened in Hobart's Salamen's Club was opened in Hobart's Salamanca Place last year. The club was the first to be provided for a specific group of foreign seazmen in Hobart.
Hobart's Chamber of Commerce -- strongly aware of the fleet's financial potential -- has gone out of its way to help the Japanese. It's members shop display signs in Japanese. An interpreter helps to solve their shopping problems. The only dissenters are some of Australia's professional fishermen. They want the agreement with Japan's Tuna Group to be terminated.