Rosa Amélia –
Fish, Friends, Fado

Arte 360° – The GEO Report 2015

PORTUGAL: The EU’s fisheries reforms are changing life in the coastal town of Figueira da Foz. The fish seller, surfer and fado singer Rosa Amélia is defying the crisis with unshakable vigor. “360° – GEO Report” on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 7.30 pm.

Script and Direction: Maria-Christina Degen
Camera: Chris Völschow
Sound: Robert Sandow
Editor: Marc Accensi
Production Assistants: Susann Levenig, Kerstin Walz
Producer: Tino Schroedl, Viviane Schmidt-Gaster, Tilo Hoffmann
Editing: Arte / Geo
Producer: Theodor Baltz / Medienkontor Movie GmbH

The coastal town of Figueira da Foz in Portugal. The sea determines the life of the people here, who mostly earn their living from fishing. The fishermen practice age-old fishing methods – but the EU’s fisheries reforms could dramatically change the already difficult life and work of fishermen.

The fish seller and restaurant owner Rosa Amélia is a living legend in the coastal region around Figueira da Foz. From an early age, the Portuguese has been with the fishermen by the sea – and today she fights for their rights. Despite the crisis, business in Rosa’s restaurant or at her market stall is not bad – the fish seller has developed her own strategies for this. “360° – GEO Report” got a deep insight into the lifestyle of a very charismatic fish woman through Rosa.

The Costa de Lavos is just under twelve kilometers south of Figueira da Foz. Here there is still the traditional Portuguese coastal fishing – the Arte Xávega. Behind the prescribed quarter nautical mile, the fishermen cast their net in a semicircle at full speed and after a short time bring it back to shore with the help of tractors. It is a heavy and not harmless fishing method – and against the background of the efforts to achieve sustainability, it is also not an undisputed one. More and more it is a matter of securing the stock of the juvenile fish in the sea, which are caught by the narrow nets that drag on the bottom. This also applies to trawler fishing, where the focus is on bycatch of unusable or too small fish. But the people here have lived from fishing for centuries and in the already tense situation in the country they need their income more than ever. This is where the EU reforms come in handy.

Rosa Amélia feels this conflict every day when she stands in front of the magnificent display of her fish stall. But the lively lady doesn’t let that get her down. And so she not only dances and sings in the middle of the market hall to her Fado songs, but also uses her enormous popularity with the authorities and politicians when it comes to clarifying the rights of fishermen. “My motto for the future is: look ahead, keep sailing, just like the great seafarers did. There are always doors that close, but others that open. I am always full of hope and will continue to work for my country in the future.”