The Briny is a podcast about how we’re changing the sea, and how the sea changes us. Each episode is a sound-rich deep dive into the stories that anchor us to the ocean. Produced by Matt Frassica.
Fear Is the Thing with Fins
After a shark scare when she was a teenager, Pat Gallant-Charette never liked wading past her waist. So when she decided in her 40s to compete in a 2.4-mile ocean swim, she had to suppress her fears. Now an internationally decorated marathon swimmer, Pat still wrestles with anxiety on every swim. And she has seen sharks. But she tells herself: “stay focused, and swim.”
Turn Down for Whales
Researchers have found that ocean noise is a big problem for underwater life. Human activities like shipping, naval exercises, and oil exploration pump the oceans full of loud noises that marine species haven’t adapted to. So when the global economy ground to a halt due to COVID-19, did the ocean quiet down?
A Quarantine Aquarium
Where do you turn to calm down when you can’t pull your eyes away from your computer screen? Filmmaker Jessica Ellis has a suggestion: aquarium webcams. Watching some swaying kelp or undulating jellies helps her restore mental balance. And she’s not alone. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Ken Peterson, their web traffic is up ten-fold since the start of the pandemic lockdown.
The White Whale
Michael Gorman looked up to his older brother Kevin. Kevin was smart, independent, rebellious. He became a commercial fisherman, despite the fact that fishing jobs were drying up. But along the way Kevin developed a heroin addiction that took over his life, and he died of an overdose. Michael’s response to his brother’s death was to write a series of plays that make parallels between Melville’s “Moby Dick” and opiate addiction in the fishing industry.
Something Fishy, part 2
Conservation-minded regulations have cut New England’s groundfishing fleet in half. But have they improved the health of the ecosystem? Some fish stocks are recovering, while others - like cod - have continued to decline. And the quota system designed to protect those species creates a perverse incentive: fishermen are throwing dead fish overboard rather than landing them, further damaging the health of the stocks.
Tim Rider loves to fish, and he does it well: the fish he catches bring top dollar at high-end restaurants in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire for their quality. But even though his operation is a model of ecological stewardship, regulations designed to help rebuild depleted fish stocks in New England are making it hard for small-scale fishermen like Tim to make a living.
Interesting. Well paced. Expertly produced. Highly recommend!
Lovely stories about the wide unknown. Possibly the best ocean-themed entertainment since Finding Nemo.
Great podcast!! A reminder to everyone how to pronounce Newfoundland: Understand=Newfoundland.