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Gone Fishing

Episode 3 of 3

Film telling the story of Britain's fishermen during the 20th century, captured in amateur home movies from places as varied as Hull, St Ives and Peterhead in Scotland.

Series which focuses on Britain's maritime history, culture, economics and science concludes with the remarkable story of Britain's fishermen, using home movie archive.

At the beginning of the 20th century thousands made a good living working in conditions of unimaginable danger. But technology and avarice in some areas created problems of over-fishing and the century ended with the port of Hull laid to waste. Hull skipper Ken Knox and filmmaker/engineer Alan Hopper watch Alan's astonishing films and tell how the sophisticated technologies companies used to send crews to distant Atlantic waters in the 50s and 60s in the hunt for white fish. Hull's men had already fished out local waters using a technique called box fleet fishing, a dangerous method remembered by one who did it in the 1930s, Robert Rowntree.

Smaller ports survived and small scale family fishing was part of the secret of their success. In Peterhead, Donald Anderson filmed the exploits of his crew, including his young son, as the fleets hunted herring shoals.

In St Ives, the Stevens fishing family were filmed by a local film-maker on their boat the Sweet Promise back in the 1950s. Watching this film today is David Stevens, the son of the skipper and 15 at the time, and crew member Donald Perkin, the last of six brothers who worked as fishermen in St Ives from the 30s to the 80s.

Historian from the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Tony Pawlyn, helps explain how these men fished and why they survived while the Hull men went under. These men are our last link with a tradition of hunter-gathering.

The programme goes to Skye in Scotland and asks if the new way of fishing - farming - is the ultimate threat to livelihoods of these hunter-gatherer fishermen.

1 hour

Last on

Tue 3 Jul 2012 20:00

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Role Contributor
Producer David Parker