Due to EU over-fishing, villagers now have to sell sand to survive. As a result, Ribeira da Barca beach lost all its sand.
Sandgrains tells the story of the coastal community of Ribeira da Barca in Cape Verde as it struggles to survive in the face of unsustainable and unfair EU fishing policy.
Awareness is growing of the damage we are doing to our seas through pollution and over-exploitation. Not only is marine wildlife threatened; small communities around the globe that rely on the sea for survival are being pushed to the brink by short-sighted and chronically inefficient fisheries management practices.
Sandgrains tells the story of the coastal community of Ribeira da Barca in Cape Verde as it struggles to survive in the face of unsustainable and unfair EU fishing policy. Overfishing by European fleets has led to a collapse in fish, thereby denying Cape Verdeans access to a natural resource that has supported them for hundreds of years. Without fish to provide food and income, the community is forced to sell the sand from their beaches, stripping it to the bone and leaving a scarred landscape of mudflats and stones. Without the sand as a barrier, coastlines are crumbling into the sea, and taking houses and roads with it. For the people of Ribeira da Barca, a way of life is disappearing, and the causes lie many hundreds of miles away, in the choices made by people they will never meet.
Sandgrains is a new kind of documentary, produced collectively by people who want to work together to bring about meaningful change. It is as much a campaign as a film: the Sandgrains team is forming a coalition of NGOs to increase awareness of the plight of Cape Verde’s coastal communities and to push for reform of EU fishing policy. The project calls for a review of all aspects of the Common Fisheries Policy and propose a number of specific changes, including:
- a uniform set of rules for how EU fleets fish abroad - a move to regional management of fisheries - an EU fisheries policy that is led by scientists, not politicians or lobby groups - a smarter EU fisheries policy that does not expose local fishing communities to unfair competition from larger European fleets
As awareness grows of the harm caused by current methods of industrial fishing, so does public support for reform. Sandgrains aims to reinforce this by giving voice to the people whose lives are affected by irresponsible fishing practices. Matchbox Media Collective believes in the power of collective action; by joining together behind a common cause, we can re-imagine the way we live together and the legacy that we leave for others.