For generations, fishing has been intrinsic to the way of life in the coastal towns and villages of Cornwall. As society takes steps towards further modernisation, many of these communities have been faced with an inevitable future but will nevertheless continue to work and encourage future generations to do the same. This short film delves into the progression of the fishing industry from its roots in small coves such as Cadgwith, the last working independent fishing cove, to larger ports such as Newlyn where a combination of methods sail the line between sustainability and profit while facing the hardships and dangers of this work. we see footage filmed by Gill net fishermen, a practice that avoids damaging the ocean floor, whilst also eliminating much of the bycatch that comes with trawling. We also hear voices from people who have lived a life of fishing, from the old locals of Cadgwith who recount their memories, triggered by the archival photographs to the working Gill net fishermen whose demand to make up for the lowering cost of fish force them into overworking and can lead to overfishing.
This way of life has always been said to be done for love and some it continues to be a way of bringing fulfilment and purity into their lives through their work. However, as we see the rise of industry and the marginalisation of certain cultures and practices across all of society, questions surface as to the credibility of our social systems and where is it going to be possible to live for fulfilment over profit for future generations. This question, among others, may sit with the audience during the final segment of the piece; a composition sung in Cornish which speaks of the calm turmoil of beauty, its fragility in force, and the futility yet transience of human experiences represented through the ocean as our original prehistoric ancestor.
(Warning – This content contains expletive language)