Europe’s super-trawlers have fished their own waters clean. Now, they have appeared to the south off the coast of Africa. One West African nation is ready to fight for its fish stocks. The government of Gabon has teamed up with a militant conservation group called the Sea Shepherd, whose members are notorious for employing extreme tactics to thwart marine poaching.
The Albacore mission is now in its second year, patrolling the waters off Gabon’s shores in cooperation with the country’s government. Six marines and four inspectors sail with the Bob Barker, inspecting foreign fishing boats to make sure they’re legal. The boarding team consists of Baptiste Brebel (1st Mate, France) and Giuseppe De Giorgi, a former Italian Navy Chief of Staff and Sea Shepherd rookie, as well as Michelle Clarke Deckhand (Great Britain), who is on her 7th campaign aboard the Bob Barker.
The Bob Barker is one of 10 vessels in Sea Shepherd’s flotilla. Ironically, though the ship now protects whales, it was actually built as a Norwegian whaler in the 50s. The ship boasts a huge fuel tank that allows it to conduct operations in the Antarctic where there is no place to refuel. With a crew of about 30-35, everyone on board takes an active part in every mission. The volunteers are also strictly vegan and always use cleaning agents that are sea-safe and not tested on animals.
James Brown joins the crew of a fishing trawler to learn what working at sea is like. He spends three weeks on the open seas and has a go at various jobs and tasks of a seaman’s life. With his fiancée waiting for him ashore, he has to work very hard to fill the ship’s hold and come back in time for his own wedding.
Sometimes we all feel like keeping a distance from everyone else, retreating to a remote corner of the world and living like a hermit. Few of us ever actually do it though. This young fisherwoman from the icy island of Sakhalin has opted for a life of solitude but was it really a choice?