Seaspiracy (2021) … or how uncontrolled fishing industry threatens the survival of the planet

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Netflix’s new environmental documentary Seaspiracy, by young English director Ali Tabrizi (27), is a film about the dark world of global animal hunting in the oceans.

In all recent discussions on environmental challenges in the oceans and seas, the problem of excessive accumulation of plastic and plastic waste occupies a dominant place. Certainly, the problem of plastic is one of the biggest environmental problems (not only in the seas and oceans). However, in this very interesting documentary, Tabrizi asks the question – what is the greater threat to the seas and oceans – plastic or illegal and excessive hunting in the oceans?

Getting the answer(s) to this question while watching the movie Seaspiracy opens up a whole new perspective (or so it seems to me) on how we treat the oceans and the living world within them.

All in all, some of the important lessons and information we get in this film are the following:

  • There are as many as 4,600,000 fishing boats in the world engaged in commercial fishing
  • Mass fishing is followed by bycatch, the quantities of which are huge on a global level. Unfortunately, as many as 40% of animals caught along the way die before returning to the water. In the territorial waters of western France alone, 10,000 dolphins die each year in a bycatch.
  • Dolphins and whales play not only a crucial role in sustaining life in the oceans but can also be key in the fight against global climate change. Namely, these animals enrich the water with phytoplankton, which annually “absorb” 4 times more CO2 than the Amazon forests.
  • A certificate of sustainable hunting practically does not mean anything. Interviewed representatives of certification companies themselves admit that they have almost no control over the way animals are hunted. As one of the interviewed critics states in the movie: “…many such groups are not interested in a solution, but only in exploiting the problem”, so he adds that certification and support of ecological struggle is only a job of calming the conscience.
  • Not enough attention is paid to the problem of waste from fishing equipment. Seaspiracy reveals to us that almost half of the plastic waste in the oceans is discarded plastic fishing nets and other fishing gear. Most animal deaths are the result of swallowing nets and similar objects or getting entangled in these objects.
  • Intensive industrial and illegal fishing threatens the survival of local communities. Mass fishing by corporations and criminals significantly reduces the opportunities for local fishermen to ensure the survival of their families because they are practically expelled from the water and do not have enough safe boats. This further influences the increase in hunting on land, which leads to the extinction of terrestrial species, as well as the transmission of various infectious diseases (eg Ebola).
  • Fish farms are not a sustainable solution. Consciously enclosed spaces in the oceans made for farming are proving to be a big mistake. In such farms, diseases are easily spread, and the ocean is additionally polluted through the use of artificial food.
  • Much of the seafood we use is the fruit of slavery. In the world of hunting in aquatic ecosystems, in some places on the planet, forced labor is also present.
  • Protected natural zones in the seas and oceans do not guarantee the protection of species. In most of these protected zones, fishing and exploitation of seafood are not prohibited.
  • “The marine food chain is the most concentrated source of industrial pollutants” – the increasing pollution of aquatic ecosystems results in the fact that fish and other animals, as well as seafood, are full of harmful substances. Thus, today the consumption of these products poses a major health risk to humans.

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