What the new film told us about aquaculture, plastic pollution, unethical farming of marine life, environmental impact, sustainable living, and more
Text: Lynda Williams
While Singapore is slowly starting to open up to more outdoor activities, ishonest team spent the past weekend indoors, glued to our TV screens watching the new Netflix documentary Seaspiracy. The film, which dropped just last week, examines the hugely damaging impact of commercial fish farming, taking us on a no-holds-barred tour of our oceans to witness the devastating effects of plastic pollution on marine life, the importance of sharks and dolphins to our ecosystems, and the heart-wrenching damage that commercial fishing is having on our planet.
Produced by the same team as 2014’s behind-the-scenes bombshell Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, it’s slated to do the same for seafood as Cowspiracy did for meat. While increasing numbers of us have swapped our meat-consumption for alternatives such as TiNDLE, opt for plant-based dishes where we can, and seek out vegan and vegetarian diets, this is the first time that the reality of the commercial fish industry is experiencing exposure.
And that’s not all. Here are 10 more shocking facts about the state of our oceans and marine life revealed in Seaspiracy that we can’t afford to ignore:
1. The magnitude of sea trawling, wiping out sea beds the size of football pitches in seconds every day, is mind-blowing
2. Discarded fishing equipment (such as lines, nets and weights) is a huge problem and makes up 50% of the oceans’ plastic
3. The documentary alleges that many parts of the commercial fishing industry are inherently corrupt and dangerous (there’s even a suggestion of murder)
4. Forced labour and abuse to staff is allegedly an ongoing issue onboard many fish farming ships (the film shows fisherman claiming to have been forced to work as slaves). Thailand is an example in the documentary
5. There is no such thing as dolphin-friendly tuna; there is no way of truly checking or tracking this
6. Fish farming is no better. Many are fed with wild fish (defeats the purpose) and trapped in small nets that breed lice and disease. Those said farms die salmon pink as the fish is grey otherwise
7. In Taiji, dolphins are slaughtered not for human consumption, but because the bluefin tuna fishery nearby sees them as the reason its catches are plummeting. Not that they have fished the tuna species to near extinction
8. ‘Bycatch’ (when a fish or other marine life or species is caught unintentionally) is responsible for 40% of the removal of marine life from our oceans
9. Ten humans are killed by sharks globally. In comparison, 30,000 sharks are killed by the hour by fishing (most are bycatch from trawling)
10. There will be no marine life left in 20 years. Reducing the world’s fish consumption is the only way forward
Seaspiracy is available now on Netflix in Singapore.
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