GAP2 Communications Officer, Katrina Borrow, blogs about her experience visiting the Red Shrimp Case Study in Palamos, Spain for a very special #CommsMission, travelling with the wonderful team from Nice & Serious film production (see: www.niceandserious.com).
My first GAP2 mission!
I have never travelled for work before. So, when I was offered the chance to hop on a plane to Catalonia, Spain, with a film crew, a carefully prepared script, several tonnes of equipment, and the mission of making the ultimate GAP2 video, there was no stopping me!
In addition to the actual filming, I was really excited to get to grips with one of our GAP2 case studies and see the GAP2 method in action – and also to use a bit of my Spanish in a new context (little known fact: I’m a linguist, so science is a whole new world!).
After a flight filled with vocab-learning (did you know the Spanish verb ‘to trawl’ is ‘Rastrear’?) and some excellent driving and navigation by the film crew, we arrived in the lovely seaside town of Palamos, roughly 90 minutes outside of Barcelona.
DAY ONE: Learning about the red shrimp fishery and getting to know our ‘cast’
In our original plan, day one would have featured a trip out on a local fisher’s – Conrad Massaguer’s – boat. However, although there was plenty of sunshine, word came to us that it was far too windy at sea for anyone without established ‘sealegs’. Five meter waves are not for the faint-hearted: of 30 red shrimp trawl vessels in the fishery, only 12 braved the weather to go out.
So, we quickly shuffled around the filming schedule and spent a day filming harbour-side with the star of our short film, anthropologist Maiken Bjorkan. Our film crew – Matt and Duncan – set up the camera and the boom and we explored the area whilst interviewing Maiken on her experience with the case study, the local area and the fishery.
That evening we gathered the rest of the ‘cast’ together – including GAP2 PhD and MSc students, a local policy maker and Conrad the fisher, and together we headed to a local restaurant to sample some of the fresh seafood on offer.
Sometimes I feel SERIOUSLY unfortunate having a seafood allergy!
That said, the owner of the restaurant did cook me an amazing ‘rodaballo’ (turbot) which had been caught that morning and was without doubt the best fish I have ever tasted. I was also assured by the rest of the group that the seafood was astonishingly good, with the ‘almejas’ (clams) and ‘pulpo’ (octopus) being particular highlights.
It was great to get all the ‘cast’, the crew and the GAP2 scientists together for dinner, and we had a wonderful evening. However, we made it an early night, and there was plenty of nervous discussion about seasickness, as the next morning we were due out on Conrad’s boat at first light.
DAY TWO: Gone fishin’
We all met for breakfast the next day. Having been told that seasickness is worse if you have an empty stomach, I made sure to eat at least four chocolate-filled pastries (such hardship!) and had a backpack full of biscuits to snack on once we were on-board. To be extra careful in avoiding the dreaded ‘marea’, I also popped on some anti-nausea wrist bands and we all took a few seasickness tablets.
Braced for rough seas and nausea, and looking fabulous in our waterproofs and wellies, we set off for the harbour.
As it turned out, the weather could not have been kinder for our filming trip out at sea. We left the harbour in Palamos just after dawn, which meant we got to watch a spectacular sunrise over the ocean as we travelled out towards the fishing grounds (great shots for the film!). Conrad, who was so kind to let us on board for filming, was an outstanding host and provided us with a delicious second-breakfast and excellent Spanish coffee.
Meanwhile, our policy-maker, Rosario, had got into her own personalised set of orange galoshes and was chatting away to the fishers about their recent catches and the fishing conditions the day before. It was lovely to see that in this GAP2 case study, the ‘gaps’ seem really well bridged, with scientists, fishers and policy-makers all completely relaxed in each other’s company and working together on all aspects of the fishery.
The trawl lasted an hour, and when the net was pulled up it was fascinating to see how selective the process had been. There was very little by-catch, and a small, healthy-looking catch of red shrimp. Because of the value of the shrimp, the fishers need not catch huge amounts.
Soon Rosario, Maiken and the fishers were all ankle-deep in catch, busily sorting through the different species.
GAP2 PhD student Giulia and MSc student Marta also got underway with some biological sampling of the shrimp – again, so much interesting activity going on, meaning lots of great shots for the film.
After our fishing trip, we completed interviews (in Spanish) with Conrad and Rosario, learning all about their experiences as part of a participatory process for fisheries management, and then took some final shots of the local area and the local fishery museum.
It’s a wrap!
There was just time that evening for a quick run around the local area – I always have to explore anywhere new on foot – and a celebratory glass of Cava to toast the hard work of the crew. Two long and very busy days of filming had provided us with so much interesting footage and had taught me a huge amount about what working for GAP2 is all about.
We’re just in the process of editing the film now, and making it as informative and beautiful as possible in order to do the red shrimp case study justice.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates and teasers. We hope to release the film within a month!
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy looking through some of the photographs I took whilst filming.
Follow Katrina on: @TrinaBorrow and @GAP2_Project