Skip to main content

Documentary looks at impact of super trawlers in Irish fishing waters

Irish Examiner

Right now the second largest super trawler in the world is fishing off the Irish coast. It drags a net bigger than a football field and can process over 250 tonnes of fish a day.

Conversationists and fishermen say huge damage is being done to fish stocks and sea life including dolphins by such activity and suggest the Minister responsible for the Marine and Fisheries is trying to sidestep his responsibilities by blaming EU Fisheries policy.

As a result campaign groups such as Uplift are calling for permanent inspectors on board super trawlers in Irish waters.

These issues and more are explored in an acclaimed new documentary by award winning Tipperary film maker Risteard Ó Domhnaill and set to be shown on RTÉ 1 television on Thursday December 8th at 10.15pm.

Narrated by Emmy award winner Brendan Gleeson, 'Atlantic' follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges.

As the oil majors drive deeper into their fragile seas, and the world’s largest fishing companies push fish stocks to the brink, coastal communities and the resources they rely on are fast approaching a point of no return.

This has huge implications for Irish fishing communities and the national exchequer and is even more relevant with news of Brexit and the UK leaving the Common Fisheries Area and with Providence Resources planning a large Irish drilling program in 2017.

Filmed in some of the most remote and breathtaking locations in the North Atlantic, and at close quarters with some of the sea’s most captivating characters, Atlantic brings to the fore three very intimate stories from the global resource debate. It explores how modern day communities must learn from the past, in order to secure a brighter future.

"My last documentary, The Pipe, told the story of a small coastal community in Mayo as they faced down one of the world’s most powerful oil companies, which was forcing a high-pressure raw gas pipeline through their farms and fishing grounds. The story raised more questions for me than it answered, leading me to look at the politics of our oil and gas prospects off the Irish coast.

"What has since unfolded is an incredible story of resource mismanagement, and the capture of our offshore riches — oil, gas and fishing — whilst our gaze is elsewhere. Unfortunately, what I found when I looked across the Atlantic is that Ireland’s tale is not unique.

"However, in both Norway and Newfoundland, the lessons learned by similarly affected communities can help us to chart a different course, before our most renewable resources are damaged beyond recognition, or sold to the highest bidders." says Ó Domhnaill.

Since it’s release earlier this year Ó Domhnaill has toured the crowd funded documentary around the country, hosting screenings in more than 100 communities.

The film has also attracted critical praise, winning the prestigious 2016 Screen Directors’ Guild Finders Series, and Best Irish Documentary at the Audi Dublin Film Festival and numerous other awards.

The film is also being been selected by the Irish Film Institute for their secondary schools programme and will be offered to every school in the country. A viewing recently took place in Leinster House and in the European Parliament.

More information or to request a screening

Posted Date: 
7 December 2016