Fishing On The Brink

  • Producer/Director:
  • Chuck Lapp
  • Co-Director: Bill McKiggan
  • Release Date: Nov. 11, 1997
  • Format: Betacam SP, 49 minutes, colour, English
  • Distributor: ENVISION Productions

Narrated by Mary Walsh of THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES, FISHING ON THE BRINK follows a two-year period in the lives of six men and five women who sparked a province-wide protest in Nova Scotia by occupying federal fisheries offices in 1996.

The fishermen were protesting the actions of  the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Government mismanagement and corporate plundering have devastated Canada's fish stocks so that the Northern Cod is on the verge of extinction. These same forces are now threatening to destroy the last sustainable inshore fishing communities.

The policies of the DFO are aimed at privatizing the fishery and eliminating thousands of small boat fishermen. These community-based fishermen use sustainable technology and have never harmed the fishery, yet the DFO intends to sell off the fishery to the large corporations who have already decimated the fish stocks with destructive draggers.
[Fisherman Photo]

In Nova Scotia, inshore fishermen have physically taken over seven government fisheries offices. As they speak to the filmmakers inside, supporters from the community circulate outside as a shield against the possibility of removal by the police. Then the protest moves to the high seas where the DFO patrol boats pursue and board the small fishing boats as the filmmakers document the encounters.

The last open fishing grounds are off the coast of Nova Scotia, and the inshore fishermen are refusing to be forced out to make way for the very companies that destroyed the stocks in the first place. Fishing on the Brink is the human story of communities that are being devastated by coporate profiteering and government complicity. Featuring the music of STAN ROGERS, LENNIE GALLANT and KILT


ENVISIONProductions Limited
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