caught dead on the Bahama Banks

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures..."
(Book of Genesis,1:2). While a crew of Spanish Wells fishermen profess this as truth, finding evidence of it was difficult during their last voyage. For nearly two weeks, eight crew members aboard two fishing vessels endured the turbulent motion of the seas only to cast their nets in waters once dense with fish.

For three weeks I stayed aboard the Lady Roberts and Tenacious, two commercial fishing vessels owned and operated by lifelong captain Ray Roberts of Spanish Wells, Bahamas. I documented the cast-off from Potter's Cay in Nassau, through their fishing voyage and back to the dock to sell their hundreds of kits of fish. During some hauls, the decks were ankle-high in fish from their bulging purse seine nets. Though this was half the catch the crew was used to seeing just a few years prior. Roberts, who has already made his fortune in commercial fishing understands that not only is the Bahamas currently faced with overfishing, but he has also contributed to the problem.

It didn't used to be this way, explained Roberts. The depleted stock of fish was disappointing, but he told his crew that there isn't a blessed thing anybody can do about it except remain faithful
to the expedition and steam ahead.

"There is no doubt that the sea is being overfished. There are too many fisherman for the size of the country we live in," Roberts said. "It's worse than I've ever seen it. I never found it so hard to find fish in my life."

Jessie Higgs (foreground) and Slade Albury (background) take a moment after hanging fish in the freezer aboard Lady Roberts.
A haul of mixed kits is thrown up on the deck of Tenacious during a two week fishing voyage in the Banks.
Captain Ray Roberts looks for fish in white holes while the door curtain blows giving the impression that he's a Sultan of the sea.
Crew haul Goggle Eye on the deck of Tenacious during their fishing voyage.
A view of Tenacious leaving Potter's Cay and embarking on a two week fishing voyage.
Abner Pinder (Little Noah) watches the nets to ensure that their catch of mixed bags doesn't escape.
Abner Pinder (Little Noah) helps hold the net filled with jacks before the sun rises.
The crew preserves kits of goggle eye by moving them from a troubled freezer on Tenacious to Lady Roberts.
Potter's Cay in Nassau, Bahamas teems with fisherman looking to out-sell their competition to fickle buyers.
Captain Ray Roberts looks out at the agreeable weather and contemplates the start of their two week fishing voyage, Bahama Banks, March 14, 2012.