The Fish and the Fisherman
Reflecting on our connection to the sea, the threat of climate change, and the fate of the world
It was once legend that Cod in the North Atlantic was so plentiful, a person could walk on the backs of fish from the Cod fisheries of New England all the back to England herself. Today, the legend is no more. Cod fisheries continue to flirt with total collapse.
In more ways than we dare imagine, even for the most landlocked region, country, or community, we are all tied to the sea. It is a connection planted in our primordial past.
For some, it may lay dormant, but in all, it is there. Stand alone at the edge of the shore, stare out at the sea, and feel it stir up from some unconscious awareness. It is not simply an ethereal, antediluvian upwelling that connects us, but the realities of daily life. We, earthly creatures, depend on the oceans for survival. It is endemic of who we are. Oceans are the engine of the hydrological, climatic, and chemical cycles that run our planet.
How local fishermen navigate climate change in a globalized economy
Few feel this unraveling connection more than the independent commercial fisherman. Squeezed between industrial-scale floating fish factories and a “confused ocean,” these men and women are stewards of the sea. Local fisherman across the globe share a growing awareness of this compounding interplay between economics, sustainability, and a rapidly changing ocean. The difficulties they face symbolize the coming collision of economics, human development, and climate change. The survival of civilization demands a profound reconciliation between each.
It is climate change, how we address the challenge - if we ever truly do - that determines the rest of it, the fate of humanity on this planet.
Such a task is complex, beyond an individual’s power of perception. Science is an essential tool for broadening knowledge. But even that is not enough. To fully wrap our minds around the great mysteries and challenges of our time, we need allegory, stories. A narrative to which we relate while opening our minds to the bigger picture.
How local fishing regions manage and reinvigorate their communities is one such narrative. It is a story that needs telling.
A sense of place in a globalized economy
From Fort Bragg to Monterey, local fisherman struggle to maintain a way of life in changing and turbulent times.
The Fish and the Fisherman follows the path at least three iconic fisheries along the Northern California coast. Photographer David Tau and Tom Schueneman, environmental writer and founder of Global Warming is Real, examine management policies, environmental and economic challenges, and the viability of traditional fishing fleets.
While on assignment for Triple Pundit in the fall of 2016, a conversation with the Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust sparked an interest in delving deeper into the complexities of fisheries management.
The Fish and the Fisherman was born.
We have long nurtured a love affair with Monterey and California’s central coast. The intersection of A “sense of place,” the culture and history of the region, intersects with economic, social, and environmental realities of our times. Our goal is to highlight the importance of rebuilding and maintaining local communities and fishing economies, especially as humanity moves further into the Anthropocene and a climate-changed world.
David Tau’s experience visually documenting the social landscape, from migrant farm works to cowboy poets, brings to vivid life the story of the Fish and the Fisherman.