The Menemsha fisheries development fund will kick off its 2008 program series at the Chilmark Public Library on Wednesday, Feb. 20 with two documentary films looking at traditional fishing communities impacted by declining fish stocks, changing regulations and the loss of a way of life.

The Water Talks to Me, narrated by National Public Radio host Noah Adams, looks at the lives of a Gloucester commercial fishing family caught between environmental issues and politics. The half-hour film features footage from Gloucester and aboard ship on the North Atlantic as well as interviews with fisheries scientists and federal regulators.

Last Season: Portrait of a Trawler, takes viewers aboard the Isabel S, a New Bedford fishing trawler. The half-hour documentary brings audiences in touch with the salt sea air, the spray, the blood and guts of the fishing industry as represented by the diverse crew of this one trawler.

The program begins at 5:30 p.m. Discussion of the issues raised and the impact on Martha’s Vineyard’s commercial fishing industry will follow.

This is the first in a series of eight programs looking at the future of commercial fishing and aquaculture on the Vineyard sponsored by the Menemsha fisheries development fund. Between February and September, the Menemsha fisheries development fund will feature lectures from fisheries researchers and regulators as well as additional films and discussion.

The lecture lineup includes Robin Alden, former Maine commissioner of fisheries who now runs a lobster hatchery; John Pappalardo, a Chatham fisherman who is chair of the New England fisheries management council; and Andy Rosenberg, University of New Hampshire professor and former New England director of the national marine fisheries service. Other planned films include Net Loss, Empty Oceans, Empty Nets, and Farming the Seas.

The programs will be held at the Chilmark Public Library. Information about the dates and times of future lectures and films will be available at the library. Call 508-645-3360. Admission is free.