Dorset Coastal Stories is a series of short films which showcase the opportunities in commercial fishing and aquaculture in Dorset.
The 4 films are all based in Dorset, which follow the stories of local people and their pathways into fishing and aquaculture. One more films will follow later in the year, so watch this space. Please do watch and share these inspiring stories!
These films have been directed and produced by Jo Stewart-Smith from Butterfly Effect Films with photography and videography by Simon Vacher. Do take a look at Butterfly Effect Films’ Boat Stories series!
Sam Shuker, a 17 year old trainee commercial fisherman takes us out on a scallop boat from Lyme Regis and tells it like it is. He works long hours, determined to get as much experience as he can ready for the day when he is old enough to skipper a boat himself. Despite having all his fisherman tickets, Sam is also going to train to be a commercial diver, so that he can hand dive for scallops. He talks about the importance of the marine reserve for his fishery. He’s seen first-hand the ups and downs his fisherman father has gone through so he knows he’s chosen one of the toughest careers out there. But he loves the sense of freedom fishing brings. He says ‘the opportunities I have – it’s so much more than a job, it’s something I live for. I am determined to fight for it and if I have to rebuild it.’
This is an inspirational story of how one commercial fisherman affected, like so many, by quotas has found a way to make it work. For several years Ashley lived the dream. He tells us ‘I spent all my weekends and school holidays fishing – I absolutely loved it I couldn’t get enough of it. After college I went into catering but it was the fishing I wanted to do. I decided to jack in my proper job and turn my hobby into a career.” He’s passionate that rod and line fishing is sustainable and describes how quotas rocked his friends and colleagues in the Weymouth bass fleet. He has managed to keep fishing, catching less fish (under quota) but using his entrepreneurial and cheffing skills to add value to the fish he catches.
Ruth Hicks our fisheries observer, says ‘people are surprised when she says she’s been out on a fishing trawler for a week, but more and more women are coming into the job now’. We follow her working on a fisheries science partnership, with fisherman Mark Cornwell and his crew, out of West Bay, (Bridport) looking at an issue – the discard ban, which could seriously impact the livelihoods of many small fisherman -especially those in mixed fisheries like Mark. It’s a fascinating story and as Liseve, Ruth’s co worker says ‘there’s a lot fishermen can teach us and working together we get the best blend of information and knowledge and sharing.’ In this case if, the scientific data proves what the fishermen are saying anecdotally -then there’s a chance for a win all round – including the fish!