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VOICES OF SKJÁLFANDI -THE SHAKY BAY-
Húsavík, that traditionally lived only on fishing and whale hunting, went on to tourism when it arrived at this bay a decade ago, attracted by the idea of seeing these great mammals. When they realized that they could exploit the presence of whales in their area in a different way, the boats that were dedicated to hunting them were converted into boats designed for whale watching, and tourism became the center of the economic activity of the place.
The problem is that the lack of whale watching regulation in the area makes it not a sustainable tourism system. The overexploitation of this activity is generating so much aquatic, environmental and acoustic contamination that the ecosystem where the cetaceans live is threatened, with the risk that this implies that they might migrate to another place. If the whales disappear, the main economic support of the Húsavík people disappears as well.
To have an alternative to this source of income, a solar panel factory has been installed in the village. The population of Húsavík has received it with joy because it gives economic stability to the locality, but the presence of this manufacture also leads to a notable increase of pollution. In addition, the material that arrives does it by sea, loaded on huge boats that alter the entire ecosystem of the bay. In this way, the risk of the disappearance of the Skjállfandi whales is accentuated. Plan B, then, is contributing to the falling of Plan A.
In the middle of this complicated situation have appeared people who struggle to change things and prevent this beautiful corner of the planet from damaging itself. Among them are the engineer Pierre Lang and the biologist Belén García, who collaborate with the local Research Center with a proposal that seeks to reduce the impact of noise pollution in the area. Broadly speaking, the project consists of placing hydrophones in key points of the bay to measure the noise made by the ships when passing through it, and to study how this disturbance affects the frequencies emitted and perceived by whales.
"Voices of Skjállfandi" is a look at the impact of mass tourism on the small Icelandic population of Húsavík. The increase of respect and veneration for animals that were traditionally understood only as food and object of consumption, the perception of the risk that the rate of exploitation of whale watching activity leads to the disappearance of whales in the area and the search for economic alternatives to survive if this happens are the pillars of a documentary that wants to reflect the dilemmas and concerns of a place, Skjállfandi bay, that completely revolves around the whale.
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Voices Of Skjálfandi - The shaky bay
By: Miquel Such
Music and sound: John Grothier
Written by: Miquel Such, John Grothier and Belén García
Filmed in Húsavík-Iceland