Conquerors of the sea take on the TV

Scene from Crayfishers.
Scene from Crayfishers.

At a time when cameras on fishing boats are causing controversy for the Ministry of Primary Industries, here are shows with cameras on boats that we can get behind.

A new addition to Prime's stable of local content presenting hard-working Kiwis is Crayfishers.

This series follows the seafaring fortunes of one of Southland's biggest Maori fishing families, the Fishers (yes, that's really their name).

Scene from Crayfishers.
Scene from Crayfishers.

Based in Bluff, the Fisher whanau has a long and proud tradition in the Southern Ocean. Their tipuna (ancestors) have fished the waters around Stewart Island for centuries.

Dad Vaughn is one of the godfathers of the crayfish industry and he's been living his dream building one of the most successful operations - the family were the subject of 2009 series Million Dollar Catch, proving their hardy sea legs and strong work ethic in hauling up a fortune in crayfish each season.

Things have changed since then though Vaughn has retired and handed the reins to his youngest son, Jayce, who has become captain of their custombuilt 20m vessel, the XS, and this year he's heading off on his maiden season in charge of the boat, with older brother Slade and cousin Jamie (also known as Smiley) as crew.

Jayce's style as a captain is a little different to his father's. He doesn't go for any yelling, and he cooks a hearty meal for his crew (no pies for these guys) and cleans up afterwards.

But he still has to battle against three key elements: the rough, unpredictable waters of Foveaux Strait - which are accompanied by gale-force winds - the forceful tides that can dictate where and when they put their cray pots down, and their reliance on a motor that has the occasional tendency to malfunction.

Although the Fisher boys don't seem to have a problem with the rolling swell (no Sea-Legs pills required for this lot), bobbing around in those large waves created by 60 to 70 knot winds can make you feel a little queasy, even in the comfort of your living room.

But it's worth it for the spectacular footage of the Muttonbird Islands and Stewart Island, and the heartening family drama presented in Crayfishers.

Also starting this week is a new season of Piha Rescue.

Scene from Piha Rescue.
Scene from Piha Rescue.

Last season the show introduced helmet cameras for senior lifeguards so we would see from their point of view as they go about keeping people safe and performing rescues at one of our most popular west coast beaches.

They also ventured out of Auckland to check out the work of the surf life-saving teams at Hot Water Beach and at Raglan, and that continues this season too.

In the first episode, two swimmers go missing in front of Lion Rock, surfboards cause mayhem at Raglan and lifeguards are forced to close the beach at Piha.

Tune in

When: Tuesday, 8pm and 7.30pm respectively
Where: Prime
What: Conquerors of the sea

- TimeOut

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