A documentary exploring a solution to overfishing
FISHING FOR THE FUTURE
What is the solution to overfishing? Small-scale, ethically conscious fishing is typically seen as no longer financially viable, but Nate Smith’s Aotearoa New Zealand-based Gravity Fishing business is directly tackling the effects of overfishing. With sustainable fishing practices that are also financially viable and use the most humane way to kill a fish – ikijeme – it’s a model Nate hopes to replicate to make sustainable commercial fishing viable for all coastal communities.
Nate’s artisanal fishing is seasonal and based on ethical fishing practices that are deeply respectful of the ocean ecosystem. By fishing seasonally, the aim is to harvest fish when they are both abundant and healthy, which also happens to be when they are the best tasting fish.
We’re excited to share this story offering hope for the future of local fisheries. We hope you’ll be as inspired by it as we are!
Click the play button above to watch a snippet from ‘Fishing for the Future’ documentary.
What people are saying about 'Fishing for the Future' film
“Oh WOW, simply fantastic! This is exactly how it should be done and once was done all over the world (and definitely not only with fishing). Living with and from nature without damaging nature and nevertheless having food and earning money. Thanks a lot for making teaching explaining recording editing uploading and sharing…”
– Chr.U.Cas2216, YouTube
Is the Gravity Fishing model a solution to overfishing?
- Most New Zealanders don’t get to buy quality seafood because it’s shipped offshore. This is a model that could bring kai moana (seafood) back into connection with the local market.
- This style of fishing sees fishers spending less time on the water, taking fewer fish from the sea, only catching in-season fish, and earning better money. “It’s a no-brainer!”
- Ikejime is used to kill each fish humanely by hand, creating a connection between the fisher and the fish and honouring the fish’s life.
- The government-funded model enables individuals who own a boat and have a QRN number to fish to order for their community. It comes with quota and they have access to an ordering platform for customers.
- If there were fishers in every coastal town fishing this way once again, industrial fishing would become redundant, our fish populations would thrive instead of dwindling, and those of us who choose to eat fish would have access to high quality fresh fish again.
“My vision is to give the fish back to the people. When I say people, I mean the 5 million people that live here in New Zealand. For so long it’s been shipped offshore. My intention was to restore regional community access. This is what we once had. There were little fishing ports all over this whole country, and that’s been lost over the years because of the way the system’s geared.”
– Nate Smith, Gravity Fishing
People featured in 'Fishing for the Future' film
Nate Smith, Gravity Fishing
Nate grew up in Bluff, Southland, and comes from a long line of fishermen. Initially fishing commercially for Sanford, he began his own enterprise, Gravity Fishing, in 2018 after becoming increasingly concerned by diminishing fish stocks. Through incorporating seasonal fishing and simplified fishing practices he has developed a replicable model that offers a direct solution to overfishing.
Anna Urwin, Gravity Fishing
Geremy 'Mish' Foxley, Sealective
Links to resources related to the challenge of overfishing
Links related to Gravity Fishing’s solution to overfishing
- Gravity Fishing website about community-focused, sustainable fishing
- Gravity Fishing Instagram feed showing their sustainable fishing practices
- Gravity Fishing Facebook page where you can follow and connect with their journey
Links related to Sealective’s sustainable fishing operation
Other films you might like
On the edge of a small bushfire-prone town in Australia, a group of community-minded folk have come together to restore the ecology of their commons forest, using hand tools and goats!
A 40-minute documentary following the highs and lows of a passionate community as they attempt to tackle the issue of food waste going to landfill.
Why make this film about a solution to overfishing?
“Seafood plays a large part in people’s diets all over the world, and yet the large-scale industrial methods of fishing that are standard across the industry are causing devastating impacts on the health of ocean ecosystems.
“When we heard about the Gravity Fishing model providing a sustainable alternative, we wanted to share this story far and wide! We hope this film makes people question the impact of the seafood they eat and inspires fishers to adopt small-scale sustainable methods to protect and care for our precious oceans.”
– Jordan Osmond and Antoinette Wilson,
Help us make more films like thisSupport Happen Films on Patreon
We release the majority of our films online for free so we can reach as many people as possible. But this is only achievable thanks to the supporting donations we receive: from individual viewers, aligned organisations, and like-minded philanthropists. Without that funding, we can’t make the films we know need to be made.
Supporting our work is easy through Patreon, where you can join our community of monthly contributors. If you’d like to support us, know that no amount is too small – every dollar becomes part of a fund that helps us make our next solutions-focused film.
To learn more about our approach to Community Supported Filmmaking, read the long-form blog post we wrote. Or visit the About page to learn more about us, about our ethics, and about how funds are used.
Sign-up to the Happen Films newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter to be notified about new film releases, behind-the-scenes news, and updates about all things Happen Films! (Note: We only send a newsletter out every 4–6 weeks.)