Selkirk: Venue s2 Border Cloth, High Street

Border Cloth our black-out venue is where artist Catriona Taylor and poet Stuart Delves have installed their beautiful, thought provoking projected work, Sea Change.

Sea Change 2

A still from Catriona Taylor’s film of the projection, 2013

The continuation of the Scottish fishing industry has been a theme that Catriona first explored as a painting student at Edinburgh College of Art in 2002. Obviously the situation has moved on since then and being selected to be part of the Casting the Net project was a great opportunity to revisit Eyemouth and gauge the current situation.

Sea change1

Sea Change3

Sea Change5

Stills from Catriona Taylor’s film of the projection, 2013

Catriona and writer Stuart Delves have taken a research based approach to the work; they interviewed two fishermen in Eyemouth who were generous enough to share lots of facts and their feelings about fishing – historically and currently. They have also read government documents and researched the environmental impact of over fishing.  It has been a fascinating process.

They decided to create an installation, which has a large water tank at its core, reminiscent of the large fish tanks in the Fisheries Mutual Agency at Eyemouth. The tank is empty to reflect the demise of the fishing industry in Scotland, an industry that has been relentlessly cut until there are only a handful of fishing boats in Eyemouth harbour.  It also represents the over fishing that has undeniably caused the stocks of many fish species in the North Sea to diminish.

The words written in a haiku form (a three line verse) are projected on the empty water as an attempt to convey an understanding of the multi faceted situation in a non partisan way. The poignancy of words are counter pointed by the healing, all pervasive sound of the sea.

We have been asked by a couple of people who have viewed Catriona Taylor and Stuart Delves projection piece if we could post the complete poem in Haiku on the demise of Eyemouth’s fishing industry from start to finish, so please find a copy below to read and reflect on:

SEA CHANGE

 

Haiku on the demise of Eyemouth’s fishing industry

 

Once upon a time

Fifty boats in Eyemouth harbour

Now it’s single figures

 

There was industry ashore

Packing, gutting, barrel making

Now it’s all but gone

 

Then skipper/owners

Were the order of the day

Sons followed suit

 

 

Fleets followed herring

By March ten thousand men and women

Had decamped to Shetland

 

 

Those were the good days

When you could walk across the Forth

Head to toe with sprat

 

 

By the early 60s

Buyers had imposed quotas:

It started with sprat

 

For sprat and white fish

There was eight pence a stone

Government subsidy

 

 

The buyers were kings

Setting skipper against skipper

Kin against kin

 

 

The sea was a field

For those who wade in their dreams

To find its secrets

 

 

1974, Ted Heath

‘Sells’ the fishing industry:

Welcome CFP

 

The European Union’s

Common Fishing Policy.

Not good for Scotland

 

Which has 8.6%

Of the UK’s population

But lands 62%

 

Of total fish catch

By value; the industry employs

1% of the population

 

Politicians say

“Cinderella Industry”

When talking of us

 

Brussels divvies up:

Fish for the French and Spanish

Banking for UK

 

The policy has failed

To conserve white fish stocks:

Cod and haddock

 

 

Restrictions, hard, yes

But greed’s the deeper wrecker:

‘Fill yer boots’ the cry.

 

The skill of ring and

Drift net swept aside by trawlers

Churning up sea beds

 

Landing by the ton

Catch and by-catch indiscriminate:

Discard dead and maimed

 

Corrugatinging the beds

Where fish spawn and sand eels breed

Sprouting thick as grass

 

 

Sand eels are fish food

But trawled by the Danes at Dogger

Mulched for bacon pigs

 

Boats have been seen queuing

At Dogger Bank, to take their

Turn to turn the blade in

 

 

Silver ghosted gills

Glimmer in the reveries

Of housebound skippers

 

There’s expense as well

£6K a tank of red diesel

£180K a new boat

 

 

Sons gone to the rigs

Oil money, not haul money:

Boys away, nae visitors

 

Now there’s a new quota

Nineteen days a month at sea, max:

That doesn’t make ends meet

 

E-log satellite!

Like trying to drive a car

While watching TV

 

Red tape, policy

Quotas, skewed fishing rights

The whole caboodle

 

But then there’s shellfish

More lobster now than for ages

Crabs, prawns, langoustines

 

Weep not for white fish

Prawn nets burrow into mud

Crustacean silver

 

Keeping prawns live for

Mercamadrid, Boqueria

More money, less catch

 

It’s not as it was

Though, ice plant’s gone, market too

Masts few, far between

 

 

Sustainability

Livelihoods

Community

 

 

 

 

The industry slashed

By 70% since 2003

Can’t take any more cuts

 

December’s quotas

A glimmer of hope at last

For Scotland, Eyemouth

 

Prawns raised by 18 %

West Coast herring by 20%

Haddock from 47% to 30%

 

 

On blustery days

Washing like sails at the backs

Bringing it all home

 

 

Sea Change, 2013:  Concept & visuals by Catriona Taylor, words by Stuart Delves

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