For a little more than three months in each year the fishermen of the small seaside villages bordering the Straits of Messina in Southern Italy put to sea for a minimum of ten hours each day in pursuit of the much sought after delicacy - Swordfish.
GV Fishing boat at sea (2 shots)
SV Man climbing tower mast
SV Harpponist goes to end of prow
SV Boat through water
LV Harpoonist in seat
LV Three men in tower looking out
GV & SV Crew members eating (4 shots)
TV Boat through water
LV Harpoonist at ready
GV Boats at speed in pursuit
LV Harpoonist spears fish PAN BACK
SV Men aid others in row boat
CU & SV Swordfish from rowboat onto mother boat (2 shots)
SV & CU Swordfish (2 shots)
SV Crewman washes down deck around swordfish (2 shots)
SV Dog on ship TILT to crew member
SV Swordfish being weighed (2 shots)
SV PAN swordfish brought ashore
SV & CU swordfishes on jetty (3 shots)
GV Fish stall by roadside
SV Fishmonger cutting fish
CU Ditto PAN TO fish on scales
Initials OS/1158 OS/1448
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: For a little more than three months in each year the fishermen of the small seaside villages bordering the Straits of Messina in Southern Italy put to sea for a minimum of ten hours each day in pursuit of the much sought after delicacy - Swordfish.
The fish, with their dangerous proboscis, live the cooler currents of the stretch of water which separates the island of Sicily form the Italian mainland. The boats used to hunt the particularly edible fish - which very rarely finds its way to tables in the north of the country - are, in design, spectacular. Each is equipped with a tower bridge 63 feet (20 metres) high and a harpoon platform of similar length which projects from the prow of the vessels.
The craft is steered and controlled from on high. As many as three men at one time squeeze onto the lofty platform. It's from there that the fish, which swim just below the surface, can be spotted and followed. the silver, sharp nosed creatures weight as much as one ton - the flesh is highly prized.....And highly priced!
The work is hard and dangerous, and the rewards by local standards are quite high. For the fishermen of Southern Italy not a moment of the day must be wasted during the three month season. It's the time when they can make a reasonable living - unlike the other nine months when even big catches of smaller fish bring in a living just above basic subsitance level.
To an outsider their lives and work are exciting - for them, life is just hard and routine.