From an island in the Bering Sea to a Maine coastal town, small scale fishermen are fighting for the right to continue their trade. For some, fishing has been passed down for generations, while others are the first in their families to take on the way of life. No matter their location or family tradition, each of these fishermen share an overwhelming obstacle: diminishing opportunity to live off the sea. Where once legend spoke of our oceans’ unending supplies of fish, the health of our ocean’s fish stocks is now a serious concern. Consolidation of fleets and an overcapitalized industrial system is pushing hard against the independent fishermen who once formed the fabric of American coastal towns.
The loss of our fishermen will not go unnoticed. We see a dramatic change in the economies of our coastal communities; a loss of tradition and culture that have coexisted with the fishing industry for generations; and the waning health of our oceans and fish stocks. Even with America’s newfound interest in sustainable food, the story of the remaining small scale fishermen and their communities has largely been lost on the average American consumer.
The feature-length documentary, Last Man Fishing, seeks to shed light on these issues. It takes a comprehensive look at the ways in which groups of small-scale fishermen are working with consumers, chefs, policy makers, and community leaders to forge new systems that enhance the sustainability, health, and well-being of players up and down the seafood supply chain. Centered on the personal stories of fishermen from Alaska to Maine, the film showcases the ways in which small scale American fishermen have adapted to, struggled in, and are now beginning to remake the seafood system.
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JD Schuyler – Director
Since 2006 JD has produced documentary work nationally and internationally. His most notable projects took him to Liberia, Peru, Alaska, and the US/Mexico Border. In 2010, Schuyler co-founded Craftedspoon.com, a collection of short films that highlight sustainable food efforts in the Midwest. In 2014, Schuyler finished the documentary, FarmCity, which focused on issues of food justice amidst urban communities. He also recently completed Sustainable Catch, a short documentary focused on fishing in Sitka, Alaska.
Kelley Jordan – Producer
Kelley has a passion to bring justice to the food system after being involved with food and farming for many years. Combining this with a desire to tell meaningful stories, she created Farm Stories, a series of photo essays about farmers and food producers who encourage healthy stewardship of our bodies, communities, and earth. Farm Stories has taken Kelley abroad to England and France, and domestically to California, Michigan, and Indiana. She began working on films with JD in 2012 and helped produce FarmCity in 2014.
Zachary Shield – Production Assistant/Camera
Zachary is a filmmaker who has crossed the Gobi Desert, endured -50 temperatures in the Arctic and traveled to 5 continents in order to tell great stories. He has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands to create a broad range of stories for commercials, tv shows and branded content. His passion is in finding authentic stories that inspire and affect change. Whether he’s in an earthquake disaster zone or interviewing a Fortune 500 CEO he believes with an honest approach and worthy goal there is always a story to be told. Zachary won a Webby Award for an innovative web documentary covering the untold stories of the devastating 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.