Puruvesi

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Puruvesi

Greetings again from the boreal north! 

OPOE is back in Finland to premiere our first film, Jukajoki, and to produce a new movie with our partners at Snowchange Cooperative about the Puruvesi seiners.   

 Helsinki train station mural

Helsinki train station mural

OPOE arrived to Selkie on sunday evening and shared tea with our hosts, Antero and Seija, and our partners Tero and Kaisu Mustonen. 

 Nuin-Tara and Antero by the fire

Nuin-Tara and Antero by the fire

   Following rain and a warm January, h eavy snowfalls came in February,

 Following rain and a warm January, heavy snowfalls came in February,

 Antero and Seija's farmhouse

Antero and Seija's farmhouse

 Poster at the Puruvesi fishing office

Poster at the Puruvesi fishing office

The following day, we departed for Puruvesi, about 1.5 hrs south, near the Russian border

 Evening on Puruvesi

Evening on Puruvesi

 Our Puruvesi cabin

Our Puruvesi cabin

 Waiting for the Light - you can see our Skidoo's headlights in the distance

Waiting for the Light - you can see our Skidoo's headlights in the distance

Seining on Puruvesi has continued unbroken since the 1300s.  OPOE filmed with two groups of commercial seiners who take their catch - vendace, or muikku - to market in Helsinki and other major cities.  Recently, the Puruvesi seining practice has achieved EU certification as a significant cultural practice, which protects the seiners from trawlers and other types of intensive fishing that might collapse their fishery.   (You can read more about seining from our summer 2015 blog post.)

 First of three torpedos

First of three torpedos

Under-ice seining is complicated to describe, so I will let the upcoming film do the explaining.  That said, setting the 300 meter nets under the ice involves radio controlled torpedoes, a complex understanding of weather conditions, above and below ice conditions, the lake floor, the water column, patience, and a great tolerance for harsh winter conditions.  The fishermen who choose to seine continue a deeply rooted and traditional practice, carried on in some clans for centuries. By producing this film, Snowchange Cooperative hopes to share and reinvigorate the tradition and spark interest in younger fisher-people who might want to pursue the practice.  The current generation of Puruvesi seiners is getting older, and there is a real concern that the practice will die out.  

 The End of the Pull - to the right, vendace can be seen in the tail of the seine

The End of the Pull - to the right, vendace can be seen in the tail of the seine

The Puruvesi fishery is robust, healthy, and can handle many additional seining teams.  In the future, should imports like farm-raised Norwegian salmon become cost-prohibitive for Finns, seining for vendace might become a valuable practice once again - maintaining the practice, therefore, is imperative. 

 Heading back to the cabin

Heading back to the cabin

 Tero on the ice

Tero on the ice

 Setting the Seine, Lake Puruvesi

Setting the Seine, Lake Puruvesi

On Thursday night, Jukajoki premiered at the Kontiolahti municipality building to a group of about 100 and was followed by a short panel discussion.  An excellent evening!

The coming days will take OPOE 1,200km north, to the northern town of Ivalo, in Lapland.  

More soon.  

 

-Tom & Nuin-Tara


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