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Troubled Waters

Pelagic expedition aboard a longline fishing vessel off the coast of South Africa  - October 2011

I travelled to South Africa about the same time last year with a plan (long in the making and negotiating) to travel on board a longline fishing boat 160 miles out to where the eastern Atlantic waters merge with the Indian Ocean.  The aim was to get to the heart of the Troubled Waters story and witness the collision between seabirds and fishermen on the open ocean.

(Above) A trawler at sea, showing the tori lines which keep the mass of scavenging birds away from the trawl cables and dangers of a surfacing net(Above) A trawler at sea, showing the tori lines which keep the mass of scavenging birds away from the trawl cables and dangers of a surfacing net

     (Left) The stern of a demersal trawler, alongside the quay at Richards Bay, South

      Africa.

 

 

But, for a variety of complex reasons (generator failure, accreditation certificate held-up, etc) the initial plan failed.  Then, with thanks to the Birdlife office in South Africa, a trip on board a trawler from Cape Town was hastily arranged.  It proved to be as dramatic and as important as anything I had anticipated and researched.

The longline element was so important to the seabird and albatross story, there had to be another attempt to join the boat.  So, with slightly different plan I went to South Africa in mid-October 2011.

This time everything fell into place and I had an extraordinary and creative adventure.  That story is currently being written and the illustrative material prepared and in due course some will be published and shown here - but most of the material is now focused on the book and exhibition launch in London in November 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Top)  Preparing the snap lines and hooks on a logliner.

(Below) Tori lines deployed to keep birds away from the trawl cables and fishing gear

(Right above) Bycatch of Cape gannet on a South African demersal trawler.

(Right below) Unloading the catch at the quayside in Richards Bay, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first stage of processing a swordfish - cut off its head!The first stage of processing a swordfish - cut off its head!

Shy albatross and white-chinned petrel scrabbling for offal thrown overboard.Shy albatross and white-chinned petrel scrabbling for offal thrown overboard.

 

White-chinned petrels scavenging offal around the vessel.White-chinned petrels scavenging offal around the vessel.

At sea surrounded by petrels.At sea surrounded by petrels.

Activity on deck through the dayActivity on deck through the day

 


 

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