Making Waves: Seaspiracy

Making Waves: Seaspiracy

A new documentary has been making quite the splash on Netflix since its release last month - Seaspiracy. The docu-film shines a spotlight on the aquaculture industry and pours doubt on the idea of sustainable fishing. Ali Tabrizi, the film’s director and front man, exposes the impact of commercial fishing in this harrowing documentary that has changed the way many of us see the seafood industry.

The documentary questions the sustainable food movement by looking at the way the dolphin safe and Marine Stewardship Council labels may not be able to provide the assurances consumers are looking for, as well as introducing the notion of “blood shrimp” - seafood tainted with slave labour and human rights abuses.

Seaspiracy has been trending on Netflix as one of its Top 10 Most Watched Films and has attracted numerous celebrity endorsements and plaudits from fans, many of which expressed shock at the industrial scale of fishing. Large numbers of viewers have stated they will no longer eat fish after watching the film, as well as many celebrities taking to Twitter to show their support for the documentary.

Vegan Canadian rock star, Bryan Adams, urged his followers to watch it and stop eating fish, while George Monbiot - an environmentalist and Guardian columnist - described it as a “brilliant exposé of the greatest threat to marine life: fishing”.

Oceans Overall

The eye-opening documentary claimed that our oceans would be virtually empty by 2048 - that’s less than 30 years away. Many researchers believe that we should be protecting 30% of our ocean, but only 5% of the ocean are actually marine protected areas - 90% of these areas still allow fishing. The oceans are home to up to 80% of all life on Earth, with the vast majority of our seas left unexplored. The oceans absorb 4 x the amount of CO2 than the Amazon Rainforest, with up to 85% of the world's oxygen coming from phytoplankton. Whales actually help to fertilize phytoplankton, which means that by protecting whales - we’re actually protecting the planet!

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Plastic pollution may only be one of the issues our oceans are facing, but it is a large one - 1.6 million square kilometers to be precise. This is the size of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, with almost half of it being fishing nets! There is the equivalent of a garbage truck load of plastic dumped in the sea every single minute. By the time you’ve finished reading this article, that means there’s probably been 3-4 truck loads worth! There’s already 150 million tons of plastic already floating in the sea, which then breaks down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. Microplastics outnumber the stars in the Milky Way by 500X.

Saving the Sharks

Although we have seen numerous films, like Jaws, making us believe that sharks are the enemy - they actually help to keep the oceans healthy! Sharks play a vital role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health. They remove the weak and sick, as well as remaining a balance with competitors to ensure species diversity. The loss of sharks has actually led to the decline of our coral reefs, seagrass beds and the loss of commercial fisheries. This comes largely due to the multi-billion industry of Shark Finning (which is often criminally involved). Whilst Shark Fin Soup is worth up to $100 a bowl, is it worth the destruction of our oceans?

The documentary goes on to discuss the Taiji dolphin drives, the drastic decline in Bluefin Tuna population, and the effects of salmon farming. Whilst the film has since faced backlash regarding the accuracy of its facts and statements, there are still a number of key takeaways. If, like many of the viewers, you’re thinking of cutting down or eliminating meat/seafood from your diet, here’s a number of UK startups that are working on vegan fish and meat substitutes: AgriProtein, 3FBio, Deep Branch Biotechnology, The Collaborative, THIS, Hoxton Farms, Purezza, Entocycle, Better Dairy, and SuSeWi.

Have you watched Seaspiracy yet? We would LOVE to if it convinced you to change your behaviour!

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