When Andrew Titus is asked about his job as Captain of the Mersey Pheonix, he doesn’t say much about himself, even though there’s lots to say; the Liverpool, NS native has worked 30 years in the offshore fishery, working his way from Deckhand to Captain. He’s responsible for fishing operations, overall quality of the product and the overall safety of the vessel and crew. But he’s more eager to talk about the skilled people he’s worked with, the innovation he’s seen in the fishery and the quality product they work hard to produce for the world.
“I’m fiercely proud of the product we put in a box. It’s natural and pure food, not genetically modified. It’s an important contribution to the world’s food supply,” Captain Titus explains.
He knows that the people and methods behind that contribution are equally as impressive.
“Some of the smartest people I’ve met were onboard these boats. There has been so much innovation to fish better, make the work easier, produce a better product, find a new species to catch and bring it to market. Offshore fishers have been a huge part of those improvements.” He’s also seen the offshore fishery evolve just as other industries have with better communication, safer boats, minimal environmental impacts and improved access to medical services onboard.
Spending half of the year together on a vessel at sea, Titus says trust and confidence in the crew is paramount and he’s grateful to have it in spades. “This is a solid, dependable crew with skill and experience second to none. A lot of people have made their whole careers on offshore boats, some sailing together for decades.”
The time spent working together at sea also builds close bonds outside of the work to be done. Titus says one part of the job he values most is getting to know people, watching young families grow and hearing stories about their lives at home. He has two daughters himself and uses his 30 years of experience working a rotation at sea to help others when they’re missing a birthday or other special event at home.
“This is hard work; it’s fair to say its harder than the average job. It’s sacrificing the comforts of home life to provide for your family. It says a lot about the work ethic and the integrity of the people who do it”.
It says a lot about Captain Andrew Titus too.
*Captain Titus shares a view of work in the offshore fishery on twitter @shrimpfisherman