Despite having the richest fishing waters in Europe, Ireland’s fishing industry and fishing communities are swimming against the tide.
Gafa sna Líonta tells the stories of those struggling to make a living and to make ends meet on our coastline. Filmed in the fishing towns of Castletownbere, Dunmore East and Heilbhic, this immersive documentary chronicles the challenges each season brings on sea and on land for our coastal communities.
Frank and honest interviews with the fishermen who find themselves trapped by quotas and who are heavily policed by Irish and EU regulations give this documentary a here and now approach to an ongoing problem concerning one of our richest natural resources. The documentary features just some of the many types of fishing taking place our shores by our native fishermen. From Pelagic to Potting, Seining to gillnetting, the documentary offers just a taste of the life of a fisherman and the challenges they face on a daily basis. The documentary follows the Irish Navy as they perform routine inspections on boats in Irish waters. The dangers of this industry are highlighted by a dramatic event which took place while filming where the emergency services were called upon to attend.
Damien Turner, whilst not originally from a fishing family – his father was a merchant seaman – came into fishing at an early age and excelled from day one. Now, Damien is rarely off the water citing “fishing first – family second’ with a wry giggle, and yet his boat, the Róise Catriona, is proudly named after his daughter. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Damien has navigated the tricky challenges that have been placed before him over the years and has earned the respect of the fishing industry at large for his innovative conservation and efforts to be proactive within the fishing industry.
Patrick Murphy is the CEO of the South and West Producer’s Organisation. His passion for the fishing industry is palpable in this documentary. He himself comes from a mussel farming family in the stunning Roaring Water Bay of West Cork where they have class A waters for farming their product which is exported to France and the Far East. Patrick is adamant that if we fought just a little more for our rights within our own waters, the benefits to the country’s exchequer are boundless.
John Nolan manages the Castletownbere Fishermen’s co-op. Despite this being a logistical challenge within itself, John took on the role many years ago and has made it his own. Pulling no punches, John has all the facts and figures at his fingertips and sees the pitfalls of the industry first hand every single day, but also offers reasonable solutions.
Shane McIntyre fishes out of Dunmore East and has had many a challenge over the years. Recently he made the costly decision to adapt his boat when white fish fishing became just too challenging from a financial perspective. Having made the changes to make his boat suitable for lobster and crab pots, he now faces an unannounced challenge to the fishing grounds he has fished for years. His fears for how events will unfold at sea after Brexit are painted vividly and expresses a deep seated desire for our authorities to fight our corner so he can simply provide for his family and do what he loves best.
Gafa sna Líonta forms part of the Tabú series on TG4 and kicks off a season of 9 individual thought provoking documentaries that offer a startling, compelling and uncompromising look at lesser spoken of topics in Ireland today. Subjects such as Homelessness, Children with chronic Health conditions, Allergies, Direct Provision, Being Transgender in Ireland, Worldwide frontline emergency medical workers, Ireland’s Offshore Fishing industry, The Coast Guard and the imminent closure of the Bord na Móna bogs are discussed as 1 hour stand-alone documentaries that provide insightful yet engaging viewing.