Cornwall: This Fishing Life

For hundreds of years the fishermen of Cornwall have worked some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. As Brexit, lockdown, second homes, seasonal tourism, sustainability, and fisheries science bring new challenges, can a new generation of young fishermen save their traditional way of life?

Documentary series following the fortunes of a new generation of young Cornish fishermen as they fight to secure a future for their traditional way of life at a time of enormous change.

The traditional Cornish fishing industry is fighting for survival – and the battleground is just off the coast of Cornwall. Predatory French and Spanish boats fish in Cornish waters hoovering up dwindling fish stocks; in the UK, huge business interests now control the lion’s share of the fishing quota, crowding out the smaller boats, and young people are drifting away from the industry as the start-up costs are too high and the profit margins too small.

Fishermen say that this ancient way of life, that has fed our nation and sustained our coastal communities for generations, is in grave danger of disappearing, as owners sell their boats and their kids move away to look for work, leaving Cornwall to the wealthy second-homers that leave at the end of summer.

But for many, fishing is not a choice, it’s way of life they are born into and are determined to make work, come hell or high water. They see themselves as the last hunters of the seas, proud men with salt in their veins who will fight for their families and their communities.

‘Among the glossy Cornwall travelogues aimed at people counting down the days until they can pile into the 4x4 and barrel down the motorway to sample rick stein’s fish and chips, is Cornwall: this fishing life (BBC two). It is a proper documentary: that is, it documents the lives of fishermen without romanticising them’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Bleddy Ansum’ – Jethro