Fair Seas’ Film Shines Light On Northwest Coastal Communities And Urges Action For Marine Conservation

A short film featuring the views of local communities from Donegal and Sligo who depend on the sea to make a living is set to receive its online premiere next week. ‘Fair Seas: The Atlantic Northwest’ has been selected as part of the Northern Ireland Inheritance Film Festival which gets underway on Monday, September 18th.

Fair Seas created the 14-minute documentary which explores the coastline from North Donegal to Sligo through the eyes of its coastal communities. It features the stories, hopes and fears of local seafood producers, an angler, dive instructor and walking guide. The film delves into how Marine Protected Areas might offer a new way to conserve the incredible marine life that has supported these communities for generations.

The Northwest is an important marine site and is home to rare and endangered species of sharks, skates and rays, over 25 species of whales and dolphins and 38 species of seabirds. However, the impact of climate change, pollution, a loss of biodiversity and reduced fish stocks can clearly be seen.

Fair Seas is campaigning for strong and ambitious Marine Protected Areas (MPA) legislation to be published as soon as possible to protect this vital resource and the coastal communities of Donegal and Sligo that rely on it. The group wants to see mandatory targets committing to effectively protecting 30% of the seas around Ireland by 2030 with 10% strictly protected. Fair Seas is calling for stakeholder engagement at every stage of the MPA designation with clear delivery timeframes as well as a robust management framework which clearly defines the varying degrees of site protection to ensure MPAs deliver for nature.

Aoife O’Mahony, Campaign Manager with Fair Seas said, “The Northwest coastline is breathtaking and our latest film explores some of the wildlife and biodiversity hidden beneath the waves. It is really important for us to hear the views of the people who make a living from the sea and to hear their concerns about the health of the ocean. There is also plenty of reason for hope and we all can act to make a difference. Donegal is famous for the large number of basking sharks that can be seen in its waters. This gentle giant was hunted nearly to extinction, now it is a protected species in Irish waters  and making a comeback thanks to widespread public support.”

“Time is running out for Ireland to meet its targets to protect 30% of our seas and ocean by 2030. The Marine Protected Area Bill was promised in June 2023 and we are still waiting to see this crucial legislation. We’re asking the voters of Ireland’s Atlantic Northwest and across the country to add their voice to the calls to safeguard our seas, tell your elected representatives you want strong and ambitious marine protected area legislation. We must all act with ambition and urgency so that the full benefits of nature restored can reveal themselves in generations to come.”

Inheritance is an environmental festival which takes place three times a year. It aims to educate, inspire and raise awareness of contemporary environmental issues, and to showcase the work of independent filmmakers from all over the globe. The festival is live-streamed on the Inheritance website and screened on regional TV channels including Latest TV in Brighton, Northern Visions in Belfast, Sheffield Live! in Sheffield and KMTV in Kent.

The Fair Seas film will be shown on Belfast’s  NVTV on Sunday, September 23rd from 9pm. The channel is available on Freeview 7 and Virgin Media 159, in Belfast, and nvtv.co.uk/livestream.

‘Fair Seas: The Atlantic Northwest’ was part funded by the Networking and Marine Research Communications Awards, funded by the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme with the support of the Irish Government.

It was produced by Swimming Head Productions, an award-winning team specialising in quick-fire documentaries with a focus on heritage, science and the natural world.

Fair Seas has also produced a new postcard for Ireland’s Northwest Coast which features a basking shark swimming over a bed of seagrass. This postcard will be shared with ocean conservation organisations in this local area to highlight the beauty of this area of Ireland’s Coast.  For more information about Fair Seas visit https://fairseas.ie/

Help us spread the word – please share!