VIDEO: New TV documentary looks at Castletownbere, West Cork Fishing Industry

7 January 2019
By Bryan Smyth

The programme called ‘Gafa sna Líonta’ will air Wednesday 8th January 2020 on Irish language TV channel TG4 @ 9.30pm (it will have English subtitles)

Despite having the richest fishing waters in Europe, Ireland’s fishing industry and fishing
communities are swimming against the tide.

Gafa sna Líonta tells the stories of those struggling to make a living and to make ends meet
on our coastline.

Filmed in the fishing towns of Castletownbere, Dunmore East and Heilbhic, this immersive
documentary chronicles the challenges each season brings on sea and on land for our
coastal communities.

Frank and honest interviews with the fishermen who find themselves trapped by quotas and
who are heavily policed by Irish and EU regulations give this documentary a here and now
approach to an ongoing problem concerning one of our richest natural resources.

The documentary features just some of the many types of fishing taking place our shores
by our native fishermen. From Pelagic to Potting, Seining to gillnetting, the documentary
offers just a taste of the life of a fisherman and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
The documentary follows the Irish Navy as they perform routine inspections on boats in
Irish waters. The dangers of this industry are highlighted by a dramatic event which took
place while filming where the emergency services were called upon to attend.

Damien Turner, whilst not originally from a fishing family – his father was a merchant
seaman – came into fishing at an early age and excelled from day one. Now, Damien is
rarely off the water, and yet his family are foremost on his mind having proudly named his
boat, the Róise Catríona, after his daughter. Never one to shy away from a challenge,
Damien has navigated the tricky challenges that have been placed before him over the
years and has earned the respect of the fishing industry at large for his innovative
conservation and efforts to be proactive within the fishing industry.

Patrick Murphy is the CEO of the South and West Producer’s Organisation. His passion for
the fishing industry is palpable in this documentary. He himself comes from a mussel
farming family in the stunning Roaring Water Bay of West Cork where they have class A
waters for farming their product which is exported to France and the Far East. Patrick is
adamant that if we fought just a little more for our rights within our own waters, the benefits
to the country’s exchequer are boundless.

John Nolan manages the Castletownbere Fishermen’s co-op. Despite this being a logistical
challenge within itself, John took on the role many years ago and has made it his own.
Pulling no punches, John has all the facts and figures at his fingertips and sees the pitfalls
of the industry first hand every single day, but also offers reasonable solutions.
Shane McIntyre fishes out of Dunmore East and has had many a challenge over the years.
Recently he made the costly decision to adapt his boat when white fish fishing became just
too challenging from a financial perspective. Having made the changes to make his boat
suitable for lobster and crab pots, he now faces an unannounced challenge to the fishing
grounds he has fished for years. His fears for how events will unfold at sea after Brexit are
painted vividly and expresses a deep seated desire for our authorities to fight our corner so
he can simply provide for his family and do what he loves best.

Gafa sna Líonta forms part of the Tabú series on TG4 and kicks off a season of 9
individual thought provoking documentaries that offer a startling, compelling and
uncompromising look at lesser spoken of topics in Ireland today. Subjects such as
Homelessness, Children with chronic Health conditions, Allergies, Direct Provision, Being
Transgender in Ireland, Worldwide frontline emergency medical workers, Ireland’s Offshore
Fishing industry, The Coast Guard and the imminent closure of the Bord na Móna bogs are
discussed as 1 hour stand alone documentaries that provide insightful yet engaging

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