Read the lesson in English  
then translate to your own language to verify your understanding.

Ireland’s Fishing Industry

Jun 14, 2023

[Music Break]

Today, in our 74th podcast, we’re examining a significant economic news piece while learning four key vocabulary words: “Death by a thousand cuts,” “Fleets,” “Quotas,” and “Scrap.”

Let’s take a look at today’s headline: “‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ for Ireland’s Fishing Fleets,” a topic discussed in The New York Times on May 31, 2023.

The phrase “Death by a thousand cuts” originates from an ancient method of torture, where the victim suffers from many small wounds, eventually leading to a painful end. In modern language, it’s used to describe a situation where many small problems or setbacks accumulate, leading to failure or collapse. In this context, the phrase is referring to the numerous challenges that are leading to a slow and painful struggle for the Irish fishing industry. “Fleets” is another term for groups of ships. In this headline, it paints a picture of the Irish fishing industry slowly and painfully struggling due to a multitude of small issues.

Let’s go over the headline once more: “’Death by a Thousand Cuts’ for Ireland’s Fishing Fleets”.

Now, for the subheadline: “Along Ireland’s coast, fishing has been a way of life for generations. But changes to the industry — including a cut in quotas after Brexit and a government plan to scrap boats — may see a way of life disappear.”

Here, “Quotas” are limits – in this context, it’s about the limit on the amount of fish that Ireland can catch. “Scrap” means to discard or get rid of, and in this case, it’s referring to the plan to discard the fishing boats.

This news is important because of the changes happening in the fishing industry after Britain’s exit from the European Union. These changes, along with the new fishing limits set by Brexit, have reduced the amount of fish that Irish boats can catch.

This change significantly affects the small coastal communities in Ireland, where fishing is not a big industry, but it has been the ‘backbone’. ‘Backbone’ here means the primary support or foundation. For some small coastal towns in Ireland, fishing has been the main source of income and livelihood.

To wrap up, I’d like to share an idiom relevant to our topic: “Weather the storm”. This means to stay strong during tough times or difficulties – something the fishing communities are aiming to do amidst these challenging times.

To recap, today’s key vocabulary words were: “Fleets,” “Quotas,” “Scrap,” and “Backbone,” and our idioms were “Weather the storm”, and “Death by a thousand cuts”.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with another vocabulary lesson for economists.

Photo credit: By Kenneth Allen, CC BY-SA 2.0,


Join Our Podcast Club

You Can Also Subscribe to Our Podcast On These Platforms:

Follow us on spotify
Apple Podcast


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcasts

Shrinkflation, Skimpflation and the ‘Sheconomy’

Shrinkflation, Skimpflation and the ‘Sheconomy’

Hello, friends. It’s great to be back. Having been away for quite some time, I've prepared a special episode for you. Today, we're not just covering one but two headlines. As we look at these stories, I'll introduce you to some fascinating terms that describe very...

‘White Swan’ and ‘Black Swan’ Events

‘White Swan’ and ‘Black Swan’ Events

Today, we're exploring a fascinating topic that has attracted a lot of attention in financial circles: the concept of Black Swan and White Swan events. Our discussion and English class today was inspired by a recent Bloomberg article from January 30th titled, "A...

‘Steel Yourself’ for a Potential Trade War

‘Steel Yourself’ for a Potential Trade War

Our lesson today is based on an article from The Economist Magazine, published on January 9th, titled "Xi Jinping risks setting off another trade war." Listen again, "Xi Jinping risks setting off another trade war."...

Predictions 2024: Dollar Bears, Bond Bulls, and Steady Stocks

Predictions 2024: Dollar Bears, Bond Bulls, and Steady Stocks

The source for today’s lesson is an article taken from Bloomberg News, titled “Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Year”. The article makes several predictions about markets in 2024. They say that there will be “Dollar Bears” “Bond Bulls” and “Steady Stocks”....

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is Booming

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is Booming

In Episode 85,  we delve into a fascinating headline from early December published by CNN: ‘It’s lending on steroids’: How Buy Now, Pay Later companies are meeting an influx of demand despite higher costs....