In a world where fish are plentiful in markets, but fish populations in the sea dwindle to alarmingly low numbers, fishing companies from across the globe are finding themselves venturing further and further from home to fill their nets.
The West Coast of Africa is a naturally rich marine paradise, but when marauding First world trawlers compete with local people and animals for the same fish, it becomes clear that this is the new Wild West, and fish is the new Gold.
Mike Markevina- a fisheries biologist and his girlfriend Linda- a photojournalist, realized the severity of the situation when they spent a year tagging sea turtles in Gabon after graduating from University. They were shocked by the amount of foreign trawlers coming to fish illegally in the nature reserve and Marine Protected Area, where they were working, tagging critically endangered Leatherback and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Each night the trawlers came, the victims would be found in the morning, lifeless bodies of turtles drowned in the nets on the way to their breeding grounds.
In this bleak and troubling landscape, Mike and Linda came up with a big idea. They decided to go on a journey around the world to find out if anyone out there is doing anything to save the fish. Inspired by their friends, the “Eco-guards” in Gabon, with whom they had worked in very tough conditions defending the natural environment against illegal fishing vessels. Mike and Linda set off, in hope of finding other “eco-heroes” like them around the world. Their journey takes them up Africa, across Europe and Norway- through Russia to Japan –China, Vietnam, India, Oman and back down East Africa.
The show is not about the journey itself, but outlines the main discoveries the couple made along the way about the issues being faced on the ground, by ordinary people and environmental organizations having to adapt to an overwhelming looming environmental and humanitarian crisis. The show highlights grass roots solutions in interesting places, created by inspiring individuals and organizations all the way. It aims to bring the reality of the environmental situation home to the ordinary citizen and empower them to get involved in any way, no matter how small. Because, as El Ali, an impressive environmentalist they meet in Senegal, tells them: “People are the problem. But people are the solution.”
This is not a story about fish. It’s a story about people all around the world and how ordinary people can make a difference, bit by bit, to help turn the tide.