Tuesday 5 April 2011

What I'm Watching

Swords - Life on the Line

Well the second series of Discovery Channel's Swords: Life on the Line has just come to an end and it was a pretty good watch.

Centred around longline fishing for swordfish on the Grand Banks of the Newfoundland coast the series follows several fishing boats such as the Big Eye, Frances Anne, Eagle Eye II and Bjorn II.

Following a similar format to the succesful Deadliest Catch series, camera's follow the fishermen as they battle the elements and fate to follow longline fishermen as they chase giant swordfish for the world's markets. Laying up to 40 miles of baited fishing line at a time the fishermen attempt to catch swordfish following the gulf stream as it meets with the cold labrador current lifting nutrients to the surface making this one of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

The series was partly inspired by the book " The Perfect Storm " which followed the fated Andrea Gail, Billy Tyne her Captain and her crew on their final fateful voyage as they battled the Perfect Storm of 1991 on their way back from the Flemish Cap to their hometown of Gloucester, Mass. One of the characters actually portrayed in the film The Perfect Storm, Linda Greenlaw, Captains the boat Bjorn II in the series.

I watched this series with mixed feelings as it's quite gruesome to see massive swordfish, sharks and bluefin tuna being brutally gafffed and hauled onto the swordboats but they do their best as far as conservation goes by using circle hooks, observing strict seasons, quota's and minimum size limits imposed to help protect the fisheries.

The Captains and crews are only doing a job which is demanded by world markets. If we want to eat fish then we need fishermen and they need to make a living.

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