Seaspiracy: the controversial Netflix documentary revealing the darker side of industrial fishing

As controversial as its reception are the conclusions of this documentary: that there is no sustainable fishing and that the only way to stop the damage to the oceans is to stop consuming fish and seafood.

The same producers of the documentary Cowspiracy (2014) are once again making noise with a new investigation, Seaspiracy: unsustainable fishing.

If in that first feature film they showed the impact of livestock on the environment, with the second one they point to industrial fishing and the damage it is causing in the oceans and the life that exists there.

Released on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, Seaspiracy is directed by British director Ali Trabizi, a young filmmaker and lover of marine life, who as a child was fascinated by the scientific documentaries of Jacques Cousteau, Sylvia Earle and David Attenborough.

As an adult, he began to worry about the impact of plastic that reaches the oceans and changed some of his daily habits, such as using only reusable objects and going to the beaches to collect waste.

But he soon realized that although the 159 million tons floating in the seas are a serious environmental problem, the greatest damage to ocean life is caused by industrial fishing.

And to this little addressed problem he dedicates his first documentary as director, one that since its release has been well received on the streaming platform, but has also provoked controversy and accusations, as reported in an article in The Guardian.

Slaughter, pollution and slavery

Seaspiracy. c. Courtesy of Ali Tabrizi

Like a thread that when pulled reveals a larger tangle, Trabizi travels through different countries following the clues of the impact that large-scale fishing is causing in various parts of the world, revealing its darker side.

It is a journey narrated in first person that starts in Taiji, a town in southern Japan where boats that would work for the marine entertainment industry -that of the water parks with animal shows- kill dolphins in full view of everyone and for no apparent reason.

From there he shows the dubious practices of illegal fishing in Liberia, the environmental damage of salmon farming in Scotland and even the slavery of the industry in Thailand, with testimonies of men who were forced to work there and even saw others die in the middle of the sea.

With interviews with scientists, environmental activists, fishermen and NGO representatives, among others, Seaspiracy reveals in 90 minutes the damage that this industry is causing in the oceans. So serious that, he assures, by 2048 the seas could be empty if drastic measures are not taken.

It also reveals a whole network that would exist to divert the focus of this problem by governments and the fishing industry and also aims its darts at NGOs such as Oceana and certifiers such as Dolphin Safe Tune.

The conclusions reached by the documentary are as controversial as its recpetion: that there is no sustainable fishing and that the only solution to stop the problem would be to stop consuming fish and seafood.

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