Fishy Business

Fishy Business seeks to answer the question ‘Why is there a decline in fish in the Teign Estuary and surrounding waters?’ The answer turned in to a mini version of the global over-fishing and bad management issue, and a look at the greed of some organisations. Did you know, for example, that Mitsubishi over-fished blue fin tuna to extinction and have frozen it, waiting to release it to the market at a fortune? (The End of the Line, film)

This project was in collaboration with Dr Ian Cook, Professor of Human Geography, Exeter Univeristy.

In 2001 I met Barrie Nockolds, once a farmer, and always a country-loving man and keen recreational angler. He told me stories of him as a boy fishing during and after WWII, and the abundance of fish in the estuary and surrounding waters even up until the 90s; how the annual flounder fishing competition had 400 entrants in 1999 and over 1000 fish caught, yet in 2009 there were just 264 entries and 56 fish landed.

In the 1990s the fish that won prizes were all over 3lb, today it is very rare to catch a fish of that size.

I spoke to local anglers, crab pot owners, auctioneers at Brixham fish market, Devon Sea Fisheries, River Teign Shellfish. Every person had their own story and reason for the decline.


Fishy Business is linked to my overarching research in to food following, a term used, primarily by geographers, to describe the exploration of the journey of food – from source to plate.

Film will appear via YouTube, please allow a few moments.

Fishy Business, 2010.
Film, 10 minutes.

I saw the brilliant film End of the Line, a documentary written by Charles Clover, journalist and author and quote from the film – ‘It is scientifically predicted that if the fishing industry does not change, all fish we now know will be extinct by 2048’

The film and its campaign reinforced my belief that we, as consumers, can make a difference, we just need to know how… see