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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 15:32 GMT
Shipping forecast loses household name
Met Office shipping forecast map
Tha' she goes: Area name now part of radio history
A name known to millions of radio listeners after appearing in broadcasts every day for 53 years has passed into history.

Finisterre ranks alongside Dogger, Fisher and German Bight as one of the most distinctive areas of sea included in the BBC's shipping forecast, but from Sunday at noon it will be heard no longer.

By working with the meteorological services in other countries we are making it easier for listeners to interpret shipping forecasts

Met Office spokesman
The huge sector it refers to, off the north western tip of Spain, is being re-named after an international accord was signed by Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco to co-ordinate the names of their shipping areas.

Finisterre - deriving from the Spanish 'finis terre', meaning the end of the earth - is also used by Spain for a different area of sea and they asked Britain to come up with a new name.

The Meterological Office decided on FitzRoy after Sir Admiral FitzRoy, the first professional weatherman and founder of the Met Office in 1853.

Broadcast by the BBC four times a day, the shipping forecast is crucial for seafarers but its soothing, rhythmic intonation of bizarre names has gained a wider fame and turned it into a British institution

Explaining the change, Met Office spokesman Martin Stubbs said: "We operate on an international scale. By working with the meteorological services in other countries we are making it easier for listeners to interpret shipping forecasts."

The accord also means slight changes to the southern boundary of the Plymouth and Sole areas, and the northern boundary of Biscay and FitzRoy. For full details, click on the Met Office website link on the right of this page.

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