This week’s Photogenie theme is titled What You Don’t Sea.
Through visual stories, our curators research the question “How has human activity been impacting our oceans?”
All sorts of fish taken out of their aquatic environments and brought to land for consumption. These actions and everything related to commercial fishing and life on the boat is visualised in the photo series Fish work: the Bering Sea by Corey Arnold.
Corey has spent the past seven years working seasonally as a deckhand on a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska. He went to art school to study photography and to pay his tuition, he spent his summers working on fishing boats in Alaska. After graduating he had the idea to work in different fisheries every year and photograph his experiences. Corey started in a time when the internet was young and there were very few photographs of commercial fishing online. He wanted to examine the modern ways of the fisherman, the way he saw it and lived it, since the books that existed only romanticized the old days when men wore leather oilskins and smoked pipes.
Kitty and Horse Fisherman is probably the defining photo of his career. It captures a bit of everything he is intrigued with as a photographer: the relationship between humans and animals, life at sea, and a bit of oddity that leaves you with unanswered questions.
However, with this series, Corey does not want to make a political statement. He has been a fisherman in Alaska for a long time and although they are catching an enormous amount of fish in the Bering Sea, he thinks it’s fairly well managed and the abundance is unfathomable. “The world needs food, especially wild food, it has a lot of nutrition and is the only way you know it’s not GMO or farmed. Still, you can’t fish for as long as I have and not be hyper-conscious of the long-term effects that it has on the environment’’.
So, since not all people abstain from eating fish and other seafood, commercial fishing will persist. Demand for seafood and advances in technology have led to fishing practices that are depleting fish and shellfish populations around the world. Fishers remove more than 77 billion kilograms of wildlife from the sea each year. Scientists fear that continuing to fish at this rate may soon result in a collapse of the world’s fisheries. In order to continue relying on the ocean as an important food source, economists and conservationists say we will need to employ sustainable fishing practices. Sustainable fishing is a way to prevent overfishing and guarantees there will be populations of ocean and freshwater wildlife for the future (National Geographic 2019).
Let us know what you think in the comments! Our weekly themes always include three photo series by different photographers.
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Written by Noura Oul Fakir
References: National Geographic. (2019). Sustainable fishing. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/sustainable-fishing/