When FISHACT approached me last year and asked whether I want to make a film about their field campaign in Sicily, they didn’t have to ask me twice! A few months later in September 2018, I found myself together with the german Director Valeska Diemel (read an interview with here) and a group of almost a dozen volunteers at the southern coast of Sicily in Italy.
Our mission was to investigate and document the illegal swordfish fishing industry here and collect as much evidence as possible. The volunteers spent sleepless nights in ports observed outgoing and incoming fishing vessel and documented the unloading of catch as far as possible. All collected information was compiled into a report and officially handed over to the Italian authorities.
FISHACT follows a citizen scientist approach to battle illegal fishing practices and nd overfishing in European waters. The grassroots organization has led campaigns to various countries, such as Sweden, Morocco, Italy, and Germany.
They investigated several fisheries and passed on information to relevant law enforcement agencies. Violating fishing regulations is common and enforcement in the fishing industry is hard and thus scarce. All additional information such as the one collected by FISHACT does surely aid here and I highly commend these actions!
From a filmmaker ys perspective, it wasn’t an easy task. I only had eleven days to accompany the teams and create a compelling story. I wanted to show what the organization stands for and what the current problems are, why they are problems and why we have to fix them collectively.
I am very happy and proud that the film will celebrate its festival world premiere at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York this year! The WCFF‘s aim is to inform, engage and inspire wildlife conservation through the power of film and this is the perfect place for FISHACT | Fighting illegal Fishing!
But enough words – take some time off and watch the video below:
And the short Director’s statement for the Festival in New York:
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.