Film made with fishermen nominated for global sustainability award

30 October 2017

A film we made with fishermen to highlight the impact of lost or abandoned fishing equipment (ghost gear) has been shortlisted for the Global Sustainability Film Awards 2017.

The story is told from the fishermen’s point of view and shows how they are voluntarily adapting their practices to protect marine life.

Ghost gear is a major issue for both fishermen and sea life, with an estimated 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear entering the oceans every year. Equipment is expensive to replace, ghost gear depletes fish stocks and can continue to catch, injure and kill marine animals for hundreds of years.

The film is designed to engage those who care about the damage lost fishing pots are causing the environment, sea life and livelihoods. Examples to reduce impact shown in the film include installing escape hatches on pots to enable juveniles to escape and attaching biodegradable cotton escape cord on pots. 

Chiara Vitali our Campaigns Manager said, “We know the majority of fishermen do not want to lose equipment as it is expensive to replace and they also want to protect their fishing grounds for the future. The best practice ideas in this film delivered in a credible and inspiring way are helping grow the movement and desire for environmental protection within the heart of the Welsh fishing industry.”

Simon Thomas, one of the fishermen in the film, said, “If the pots do get lost, these adaptions will limit the amount of sea life being stuck inside, preventing the pots actively ghost fishing. If the pot is lost then the hatch will open and anything stuck inside can find its way out. I feel all fishermen have a responsibility to look after the stocks as there has to be something left for tomorrow.” 

Andrew Davies founder of CampaignFilm, said, "The film gave fishermen the chance to talk intimately about how they feel about protecting the environment; the very thing they rely on for a livelihood. We were able to capture the desire to change in a way that doesn’t threaten or alienate other fishermen; bringing them all to a place of shared story and responsibility."

Best practice ideas in the film such as the escape hatch are the result of a cross Atlantic knowledge share with fisherman in the USA who are also seeking to protect their environment.

We have created a dedicated web hub for all local fishing communities to reduce the impact of ghost fishing gear and provide educational materials to raise awareness of preventative measures and best practice. All the materials can be found at the Sea Solutions hub here.

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