Netflix has just released its highly-anticipated new documentary film “Seaspiracy,” which aims to provide a corrective alternative to how the world collectively views oceanic pollution and the driving forces behind it.
It was created by 27-year-old filmmaker Ali Tabrizi, who took on a mission to uncover the role of commercial fishing in the plight of marine life. Starting out bright and optimistic, the documentary quickly escalated into a nightmare of realities that will haunt you hours after the credits roll down. Eye-opening and incredibly disturbing, these are the key takeaways you can get from the film.
Plastic straws are just a tiny part of the problem
It’s true, plastic junk is killing life underwater. Sure, everyone should limit their use of these non-biodegradable materials. But contrary to popular belief, the use of plastics is not the main culprit responsible for marine destruction. In fact, plastic straws, which get a lot of media attention, only make up 0.025 percent of oceanic pollution. The investigative documentary argues that it is commercial fishing and all the dirty work that comes with it that poses the biggest threat to marine ecosystems.
‘Seaspiracy’ reveals that commercial fishing is the largest contributor to ocean plastics. The horrifying statistics unveil that 46% of the ocean’s “garbage patches” consist of fishing gears, the majority of which are fishing nets. This only begs the question: why are so many environmental groups– including the ones most notable in the world– are mostly waging a war against plastic but fall silent on the issue of commercial fishing? Seaspiracy’s answer is, these groups are funded by fishing companies.
The world is dying along with the ocean
It’s well-known information that oceanic decline means death for everyone on the lands. But ‘Seaspiracy’ makes it clear why: 93% of the world’s carbon dioxide is stored in the ocean by marine plants. Sadly, many large-scale fishing use fishnets big enough to swallow an entire cathedral (or 13 jumbo jets) that grace the ocean floor, killing the reefs and practically leaving a wasteland in its wake. The death of ocean vegetation causes the water to rise in temperature. The warming of the ocean water not only destroys marine ecosystems but triggers heavy rainfalls that can cause deadly flooding.
The truth about bycatch
Bycatch is a term that refers to marine species unintentionally caught by fishing vessels and gear. These accidental catches are often thrown back into the sea, but due to trauma and being out of the water for a long time, they end up badly injured or dying in the process. As Tabrizi notes in the film, this is another major ecological adversity. Sharks and dolphins are crucial components of the marine food chain. 50 million sharks end up being a bycatch every year, and in the Atlantic coast of France alone, almost 10,000 dolphins suffer the same fate. Think of the potential numbers when we consider that sharks and dolphins are not the only species affected, and that this entire bycatch mess takes place on a global scale.
Sustainable fishing is a myth
The documentary also casts doubt on various labels denoting that a product is a result of sustainable fishing, such as the Dolphin Safe labels and Marine Stewardship Council certification. As it turns out, the so-called “sustainable fishing” remains a vague term despite many organizations promoting it as something consumers should look out for when buying canned seafood, as it assures everyone that a company follows the fishing regulations imposed to ensure minimal bycatch. As a matter of fact, even spokespersons failed to give an answer when asked to define the term.
The point is: there’s no such thing as a sustainable fishing industry.
The number 1 solution is to ditch seafood
There’s no sugarcoating it: Cutting down on our seafood consumption or completely eliminating it from our diet is the key solution. ‘Seaspiracy’ makes a strong case that the only way we can save our oceans from continuously deteriorating is by not participating in the exploitation of marine life in the first place. This grueling exposé estimates that the ocean will run out of fish by 2048. Will we wait for it to happen?
Have you seen Netflix’s “Seaspiracy”? Tell your thoughts about it in the comments below!
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