A new film produced by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) highlights the “crisis” facing fishing communities in the UK.
The short film focuses on a fishing family in Cromer, Norfolk, and will be launched today during an event in Parliament, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fisheries.
Dr Carole White, who has been studying social resilience and recruitment into inshore fisheries since 2011, will also talk about her research and the industry entry challenges for young people.
“Many fishing communities in the UK are facing a crisis in terms of their future,” said Dr White, a Research Fellow in UEA’s School of International Development. “The industry is failing to recruit young people to work on fishing boats. Despite recent investment, barriers to recruitment remain - particularly for those without family connections in the industry. Until these barriers are addressed, we risk losing small scale fisheries from UK coastal communities.”
The film, titled The Shauls, was made with Postcode Films between 2018-2021 and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the FisherCoast project, a multi partner international research programme exploring the impact of environmental, economic and social change on the wellbeing of coastal communities.
The Shauls follows skipper Keith Shaul and his grandsons Jimmy and Josh, who are Cromer crab and lobster fishermen working off the North Norfolk coast. Keith is determined to provide his grandsons with the skills to make a living independently as fishermen, while being acutely aware of the increasing challenges to small scale fishing families’ survival.
The film sees them spending time at work and while they relax, discussing the issues they face, and why so few young people today are considering fishing as a profession. As Jimmy makes his start as an independent fisherman, it shows how essential the support from his grandfather is, highlighting the importance of family connections in fishing.
Using the case study of the Cromer Crab fishery and talking about the challenges facing new entrants into fishing, Dr White and the film’s director Jaime Taylor call for external support for new entrants and young people starting their fishing careers, as well as a holistic approach to rural coastal development to build social resilience in fishing communities across the UK.
“New entrants outside the fishing community face even greater challenges in making a viable start as fishermen,” said Dr White. “Without external support for new entrants, particularly young people, the sustainable future of inshore fishing communities hangs in the balance.”
Other speakers taking part in the APPG event ‘Fishing Crews Today and Tomorrow’, chaired by MP Liz Saville Roberts, include: Harry Wick from the Northern Ireland Fish Producers' Organisation speaking on fishing training, recruitment, and retention of young people in the industry; Karl and Jenny Price from Bridlington speaking on the #GetALifeAtSea initiative, and recruitment challenges in the industry; Andrew Crook from the National Federation of Fish Friers speaking from the perspective of a parallel industry on recruitment and retention of young people in the sector; and Sarah Ready a female fisherman talking about women in fishing.