The race for resources of the north Atlantic

"Atlantic" follows the fortunes of three fishing communities united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean, as they struggle to maintain their way of life despite mounting challenges within their own industry and environment. On both sides of the Atlantic, new hydrocarbon frontiers are pushing out into deeper water, and further north into the Arctic, posing serious threats from the oil and gas explorers.

The film charts the politics of resource management of the North Atlantic, from strong state control in Norway, mixed fortunes in Newfoundland, to a more liberal, privatised system in Ireland. 'Atlantic', through the experience of these coastal neighbours poses the question: who benefits from the exploitation of these resources. Filming at close quarters with those at the epicenter of the resources issue, and in some of the most dramatic and harsh settings in the North Atlantic.

As oil exploration companies move into position off our coasts, and huge 'factory' trawlers force small fishermen off their fishing grounds, this film questions the silence and inaction of the Irish governments. What control is the state taking in this concerted drive to capitalise on Ireland's offshore oil and gas potential, and why is it so different from other parts of the North Atlantic.

Despite problems, as other Atlantic provinces grow rich from strict State ownership of their resources, Ireland is increasingly at the mercy of outside influences who already control most of her oil and fishing wealth. The battle over what lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean is heating up. Yet it is happening out of public sight and out of public mind.

The only film that we know of that shows the conflict of coastal oil production with local fishing communities. The sad fact mentioned in the film is that large industrial fishing vessels can catch up to 12,000 tonnes of herring with one catch, sometimes 4,000 tonnes of which are simply thrown back into the sea because of their inappropriate size. The film tends to shed light on the social aspects, but 5-10 minutes are devoted to the underwater explosions for oilfield explorations affecting whales and fish at a distance of 200 km.

Director(s): Risteard Ó Domhnaill
Script: Angela Antle
Production: Marie Therese Garvey, Jill Knox-Gosse, Karl Emil Rikardsen, Lynne Wilson
Actors: Brendan Gleeson, Charlie Kane, Jerry Early, Bjørnar Nicolaisen, Máirtín Éanna Ó Conghaile
Year: 2016
Duration: 80 min
Our age recommendation: 14
Language (audio): English
Country of origin: Ireland
Shooting Locations: Canada, Norway, Iceland, Ireland

You can also view it for a fee at:

Further reviews


Main topic(s): Oceans
Secondary topics: fossil fuel politics overfishing noise
Mentions: fishing EU European Union oil drilling fish Atlantic oil statoil gas North Sea whales noise pollution communities overfishing fish stock collapse Arctic sea

Host a Screening