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Seine Fishing

At the Arctic Ocean

Photos and text by Anton Jónas Illugason


Fishing is an industry that is deeply rooted in the Icelandic culture, but still it seems so distant as the only ones who get to experience it, are the ones who work with it. It feels hard to describe to others how things actually work out on the sea, because you actually have to experience them for yourself to be able to understand it. 

I can remember from a young age my dad trying to explain how these things would go about out. I didn't understand that much however as I couldn't get my head around all these concepts. It wasn't until around the age of 13 that things started to make sense. 

This is the reason why I've always been this interested in photographing and showing others how this life is. I think this is a unique world who only few get to actually experience.

Guðmundur Jensson SH717 has a crew of 6 and docks at Ólafsvík, on Snæfellsnes. The fishing company that operates the boat has always been within the family. My grandfather originally founded the company with his father in-law, brother and a few others - but today my grandfather and my dad operate it along with my grandmother. 

The crew comes from various towns on the Snæfellsnes peninsula - most of them from Ólafsvík but one from Grundarfjörður and one from Stykkishólmur.

Guðmundur is a "day-time" boat, which means that usually we sail out early in the morning, and arrive back home in the evening.

The drive

What I love about the life on sea is the culture - this drive that keeps the people going. There's nothing in it which is called "giving up", you simply just have to find a way. 

The hours between the peak periods are the ones that I like the most. That's where the crew sits down to discuss all kinds of topics over a warm cup of coffee. Whether it's English soccer, local town gossips, or politics - everybody seems to have formed an opinion on everything.

Most all fishermen that I've gotten to know through the years are extremely hard working and resourceful persons who are usually the first ones to always offer help whenever it's needed. Whether it's putting up a billboard on the local soccer field in terrible weather, or if it is building a small shed - it's never a problem gathering a small group to finish the job.

That in itself shows what kind of people the life at sea raises up.

"That in itself shows what kind of people the life at sea raises up."

Strong character

I feel like fishermen themselves are too often forgotten in the discussion about fishing 

The actual fishermen are often overlooked in the discussion about fishing. The tough conditions and the catch usually seems to play the leading role. The fishermen on the other hand have strong characters, which I think many people could use as an inspiration in everyday life.

Thank you!

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