The Lord of the Reef

by Mert Gοkalp , Turkey, 2021, 60’

The narrator of the documentary Mert realizes the catastrophic human impact on coastal areas and marine ecosystems while he was working as a scuba instructor/scientist. Being attached to Kaş like many others, he follows the story around one special fish, the dusky grouper and films the very first protection efforts and the struggle given to conserve the area as a newly declared marine park. Nonetheless, Mert is a ferocious underwater hunter, who spearfishes since he was seven and he realizes the effect he has on the coastal ecosystem singlehandedly. For years he was working on marine conservation and makes documentaries for the protection of marine life, he witnesses the ban of fishing of the dusky grouper and the regeneration of marine life within the perimeters of the brand-new marine park. Starting in 2010, the filming spread around 10 years of history in the region. And during that time Mert encounters spectacular stories of marine inhabitants, films special animal behaviour, walks together with sea-loving souls who are sworn to protect this fragile ecosystem. This blue documentary questions the impact we as humans have on coastal ecosystems; whether we realize a life-long dream and buy a holiday house for family, construct a huge touristic facility on shore or simply like to catch fish as a hobby.

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