Boat Stories has met with over a dozen working or ex fishermen and women so far. We’ve learned about some of the fish and seafood living out there in the mud or sandbanks, like the fact that if a turbot (a large flatfish) is upside down it can apparently use its ‘prickles to flip up in the air and right itself’. Or that salmon entering the Taw and Torridge estuary are sometimes swimming so hard to beat the currents that ‘they find themselves several miles up the wrong river and have to turn around and start again’. We’re beginning to learn what’s special and different about Northern Devon fisheries and fishing and have spoken to those whose knowledge of local currents and hazards and the notorious Bideford Bar will hopefully be passed on. We’re looking forward to meeting more skippers and we’ve noticed how busy they are because we’ve learned to follow our local fleet via the marine traffic website (something for a blog one day- http://www.boatstories.co.uk/news.html). Many fishermen are out at sea now, as I write, working right through the Easter holiday weekend.
We’ve spoken to other working boat owners, harbour masters and those who volunteer for the RNLI or run ferries or charter boats. We’ve talked to fishmongers and a few restaurants: those who are selling locally landed fish (see fish page on website) and others who would like to. We’ve met people in various stages of running or setting up businesses to sell and cook local seafood and we will keep in touch with them on the ups and downs of their journey. We’ve spoken to organisations and individuals whose job is to manage the rivers, estuary, inshore and offshore waters.
We’ve met with local filmmakers and are grateful for their support and enthusiasm for this young, exciting low-budget project. We’ve also tried to follow up with most people who have contacted us. Many people have wonderful tales from times when owning a boat and fishing was the way of life and we want to document these before they are lost. We are also keen to tell contemporary stories of life on the water as it is now. You may not think your story is interesting because it’s your day to day living, but Boat Stories would love to hear from you – please get in touch.
Starting nearly two months later than planned means we haven’t been able to approach everyone we’d like to – before they go into their busy season. We haven’t caught up with all the skippers, charter boats, restaurants, cafés or pubs, nor looked into heritage boats. As the seasons progress we hope to learn more about different kinds of sustainable fishing, the supply chains and recipes. While the research continues we’ve had to prioritise the seasonal films we need to make now, before we lose the opportunity. The good news is we have found lots of stories which we think will make great short films. We have funding for six but would like to make a series of twelve so if anyone has any funding tips or ideas, please get in touch! Meanwhile planning is underway for our first three stories to begin filming in May. They are three very different films - to be shot in three very different areas. Each needs several elements to come into place – especially fair weather on the right tides.
Wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted.