In the Island of Mozambique, fishermen marry mermaids and fisherwomen chant to the sea, asking for good winds and tides. In the past, the exchanged vows assured a harmonious coexistence between the natural world and the community. If mermaids, a metaphor for nature, are respected and pleased, they make sure the sea protects and sustains humankind. But today the sea is not producing as it used to. It has become the source of destruction and devastation, bringing in severe tropical cyclones, rising sea levels, and disputes around the recent discovery of oil and gas resources has caused anguish. Looking for the Mermaid tells the story of a dhow fisherman, Jorge Nakhodha, who is desperately looking for the mermaid, so he can make peace with her, save himself and find a resolution for his community.
The film is an urgent and timely documentary film that draws on the rich tradition of oral storytelling from the ancient fishing communities of the Island of Mozambique. With a focus on how climate change impacts these communities, it illuminates the struggles they face in the wake of regular cyclones and floods, foreign fishing, ocean pollution, jihadist war, and the rapid degradation of the marine ecosystem. By centering our documentary around the story of a fisherman and his quest to repair his marriage to a mermaid – thereby saving both himself and his community – we hope to convey what the climate crisis means for these communities. Our film also promotes the importance of traditional ecological knowledge and its integration into western science as a means of fostering sustainable solutions to the
environmental challenges faced by communities all around the world.