How can I best serve the fishers of the Caribbean? It’s been on my mind a lot lately. With the Gulf Oil Spill, marine conservation is more important than ever and the role of Caribbean fishers is as critical as ever if not more. While it is important to support the fishermen in affected areas along the Gulf Coast, it is no less important to act decisively to protect and preserve fisheries across the Gulf and Caribbean. And none of those efforts will work without the fishermen. And the fishermen themselves are the best folks to reach and educate other fishers and their communities. (I’m going to be posting some interviews with scientists soon to talk about why this is so, but for now I’m just going to say it.)
A documentary takes a long time to produce. A time horizon of years is too long for this work. It was too long before the Gulf Oil Spill.
So, I plan to revamp the blog. Ramp up my use of social media. Start posting video interviews asap of the fishers from the Fisher’s Summit sponsored by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. There could not be a more powerful tool for raising awareness than hearing directly from these fishermen. Along with the interviews, I plan to post links to places where you can find out more about and support the projects and initiatives that support the fishermen who are already leading conservation efforts in their home waters. There are a lot of great marine conservation organizations, but frustratingly few avenues that I know of where money or support from regular folks can be channeled directly to projects that affect the fisherfolk. Awareness is great. Support is greater. If you know of specific channels, please let me know so I can post them here.
The first interview I’m going to post is of Ceylon Clayton, who has been working to save and protect sea turtles in Jamaica for decades – no money, no applause, just something he cared about.
Also, it seems to me that fly fishermen and the fishers are a natural alliance. Fly fishing guiding is an alternative livelihood for many of the fishermen that enables them to take less and survive. And fly fishermen get it. They share the passion. So I’m also going to be looking for ways to link fly fishermen directly to the fisher’s cause. Anyone who knows of any projects or initiatives already underway, I’d love to hear about those, so I can post links to them, too.
I’m a neophyte at all this social media stuff, so any and all advice from experienced bloggers and people connected to conservation is welcome.
Not that I’m giving up on the film. It will be an important tool, as long as there are still fish and fishers by the time it’s released.