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Smyle's take on Seaspiracy

  • 3 min read

 

We bet you might have heard about this trending documentary movie: Seaspiracy. Wow, did this movie create waves!

In this blog, we just wanted to give you our 5 key takeaways on Seaspiracy. 

Seaspiracy is a documentary about the impact of commercial fishing and what this does to ocean life. It is made by the team behind the award-winning 2014 film Cowspiracy.

Let's directly dive into it:

1. COMMERCIAL FISHING KILLS MARINE LIFE ON A MASSIVE SCALE

We as Smyle fight against plastics, as it impacts and pollutes our environment. However, commercial fishing is killing marine life at a staggering rate as well.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society stated that over 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed every year through by-catch. Over 40% of everything caught is by-catch and is thrown overboard again, where most of it dies.

One other fact: globally, only 1,000 sea turtle deaths per year are caused by plastic, while in the United States alone, 250,000 sea turtles are captured, injured, or killed every year by fishing vessels.

Fishing is actually more dangerous than oil spills. Callum Roberts, professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Exeter, says “the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico destroys more animals in a day than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill did in months.”

The Dutch Keuringsdienst van Waarde identified earlier that for 1 small fish oil capsule, 30 anchovies are needed. Anchovies are a source of food for a whole range of other animal life.

No doubt about it: commercial fishing creates huge problems.

2. FISHING NETS ARE THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF PLASTIC POLLUTION

Seaspiracy also brings to light the fact that the overwhelming danger to our marine life isn’t plastic straws, which only account for 0.03 per cent of plastic entering the oceans. It’s all the other plastic stuff we use. And a huge part is fishing nets.

There is some discussion on what the % actually is. In The Great Garbage Patch, it probably is way more than in other parts of the oceans, but most likely it is between 20-46%. It’s staggering.

This still means that 54-80% of the plastic pollution we cause is made by stuff we consume daily, but it also shows the extraordinary impact the fishing industry has.

 

fishing plastic

 

3. REDUCING SEAFOOD IS THE ONLY SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION

If you’re worried about missing the taste or even the nutrition provided by seafood, Seaspiracy assures viewers there’s no need to worry: You can get those omega-3s elsewhere.

“People don’t realize fish don’t make omega-3 fatty acids—it’s the algae cells that are making the omega-3 fats, and the fish swallow the algae cells,” says Dr Michael Klaper, a Physician at TrueNorth Health Center. So, in theory, you could simply eat the algae to get the nutritional benefits.

We think this is not as easy as it is portrayed, but it certainly is the only viable way forward. Specifically also, because the documentary shows that sustainable fishing is hardly existing and in itself has a huge environmental impact. Sustainable fishing might help mitigate the impact, but it is not the solution in itself.

4. ONE BIG MISSED OPPORTUNITY: LEGISLATION WAS NOT HIGHLIGHTED

The fight against smoking is won by smoking bans in public places like bars, hospitals, shopping malls etc. The fight against car accidents is won by making car belts mandatory.

The importance of new legislation and pushing the enforcement of existing laws cannot be overemphasised! International action is needed for this. This is not adequately pointed out in the documentary. An opportunity missed.

 

 

5. DON’T DEBATE THE TONE OF THE MUSIC, WHILE THE TITANIC IS SINKING

A lot of scientists and other people affiliated with the fishing industry push back that the documentary is giving falsehoods and misinterpretations. And in some cases, they’re probably right.

The most often mentioned ‘falsehood’ is the statement that by 2048, the oceans will be empty if we keep fishing as we do now.

This claim is a misinterpretation of a paper in which is stated that by 2048, all the worlds exploited fish populations would be so depleted that they would yield less than 10% of their historically highest catches.

Our take on this, even if this is a misinterpretation, the mere fact that this might not happen in 2048, but perhaps 10-30 years later is bone-chilling enough. If it is not 0%, but 10% or even 20% is still chilling enough.

Let’s focus on the bigger trends here. The key message is the same. We need to change the way we live, eat, drink and consume.

We need to stop seaspiracy.

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