I boarded a shark longline vessel and armed only with my cameras, I single handily filmed and produced, Sharks in Deep Trouble.
Many people have asked me how I could film the gruesome slaughter, and it is difficult to relay because the limitation of words cannot reach the depth of my emotions. In an attempt to explain, I can tell you that to witness the terrible cruelty and smell of the blood made me feel like vomiting, but I knew this was a chance in a lifetime to show the world the truth and I kept my focus while filming, giving my camera to someone once to film me on the vessel. Editing the footage was incredibly hard – as I spooled through the footage to select clips, I would put my face in my hands, breakdown and sob, forced to walk away until I could find the courage to carry on cutting the film.
I spent two years researching the subject and securing an opportunity to film on a longline vessel. I was on the vessel for a night and two days. It was broadcast on 50|50 in South Africa to over 1 million people. It contains footage rarely seen which shocked viewers, bringing many to tears. It is important to note that most of the footage was shot on a legal shark fishing boat and that the problem, as depicted in this film, does not lie with the fishers operating legally, but rather with the illegal fishers and the South African government’s inadequate management and compliance of this resource. General inertia of governments worldwide in taking responsibility for their natural resources is driving many fish species, including many shark species to extinction.
Sharks in Deep Trouble Awards:
1. Conservation Message Award: Montana Cine International Film Festival 2008
2. Honorary Conservation Message Award: 32 International Wildlife Film Festival 2009
3. Honorary Investigative Journalism Award: 32 International Wildlife Film Festival 2009
4. Outstanding Achievement Award: Celebrate the Sea Festival 2009
5. Conservation Message Award: Celebrate the Sea Festival 2009
6. Best Information Film Award, Film Category A: 36th World Festival of Underwater Pictures 2009
7. Best of Festival Award, Beneath the Waves Film Festival: 39th Benthic Ecology Meeting 2010
Director, Producer, Camera, Editor, Research, Script and Narration: Lesley Rochat. A Blue Pluse Pictures and SABC 2 Co-production.