Before Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched his high-profile campaign to overhaul EU fishing laws, James Morgan travelled halfway across the world to make his own investigation into the impact of modern fishing practices on the waters and people of the Coral Triangle.
Using a combination of stunning stills, moving imagery, text and graphics, People of the Coral Triangle looks at how the increasing popularity of explosive fishing devices is devastating the lives of people in the area.
Morgan’s underwater images of the Bajau Laut, a nomadic people who spend most of their lives at sea, are interspersed with interviews and statistics about the live fish trade. As their coral habitats are blasted out of existence the fish understandably head off for more hospitable waters, and those people who depend on the sea for their food are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.
A brief video of how to make an improvised fishing explosive from some matches and an empty bottle demonstrates how quickly and easily local fishermen can create their dangerous tools. Morgan’s shots of a surprisingly large explosion and a dead, grey sea bed leave us in no doubt about the catastrophic damage these crude devices can wreak on the environment, let alone the people who live there.
When we later see a woman whose hands have been reduced to stumps the implication is clear, although Morgan doesn’t sentimentalise his subjects so the project never comes across as overly didactic or moralistic.
Morgan manages to fit a surprising amount of information into his tightly edited 11½-minute project, considering the subject matter could easily merit a full-length TV documentary. People of the Coral Triangle is a genuine and successful attempt to bring our attention to a particular problem affecting a far-off place and the people who live there.
People of the Coral Triangle was broadcast on Thursday 15th December at 23:15 on the Community Channel and can be viewed in full on "http://jamesmorganphotography.co.uk/multimedia/the-bajau-laut" James Morgan’s website.