In Pictures

In pictures: The plight of the fishermen

On a ship a fisherman holds a net Image copyright Joanne Coates

Photographer Joanne Coates has for three years been recording the lives of those working in the fishing industry in Scotland, capturing the salt-drenched men who spend time at sea.

For Coates, raised in a rural area of northern England, these photographs are a continuation of childhood trips to the sea.

Every Sunday she was taken with her brother to Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington, giving her a glimpse of her future subjects.

A fisherman sits at the wheel of the ship Image copyright Joanne Coates
A man in a worn hoodie looks out to sea Image copyright Joanne Coates
A fisherman stands on shore with ice and boxes Image copyright Joanne Coates

"Rubber boots here, nets there, catching snippets of seafarers' conversations," says Coates.

"The frayed jumpers, the big smiles. I can't explain the connection, but it was there."

These pictures show a world of hard labour and long days, grubby overalls and grey skies.

It is a treacherous business.

More lives were lost at sea in the first six months of 2016 than in the whole of the previous year.

The Fishermen's Mission charity claims that an average of 15 fishermen a year are killed or seriously injured each year.

Seagulls and the sea seen through a porthole Image copyright Joanne Coates
A fisherman stands with a net Image copyright Joanne Coates
A large hook holds a net Image copyright Joanne Coates

In Orkney, where Coates took these images, fishing is a way of life for many of the men.

She captures the inshore fishermen of the Orkney Fishermen's Society, a cooperative established in 1953. with brown crab and lobster as its main catch.

This association works closely with researchers to maintain a sustainable fishing ground, with the area also being home to Europe's largest lobster hatchery, which releases over 100,000 lobsters annually.

Coates' atmospheric photographs trace the everyday lives of these men, as they navigate their way through an uncertain future.

A fisherman holds a net while on a ship Image copyright Joanne Coates
A fisherman holds a crab while more are piled up behind him Image copyright Joanne Coates
A painting of a ship at sea Image copyright Joanne Coates
A man in an overall sits on a ship Image copyright Joanne Coates
A man measures the size of a crab Image copyright Joanne Coates
A cloudy sky hangs over the sea Image copyright Joanne Coates

All photographs by Joanne Coates

Related Topics