Netflix’s Seaspiracy is the documentary that everybody needs to be talking about in 2021. To be frank, it’s hard to watch and it certainly not for the squeamish… but, as a citizen of the Earth, if climate change and environmental issues are important to you, Seaspiracy is a documentary that you have to watch.
Warning: This documentary will either break your heart, enrage you or just simply depress you…
The fishing industry is massive. It baffles me that I never put much thought into the environmental impact of the fishing industry and have been a willing consumer almost my entire life. The fishing sector in the United States was valued at 9.62 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, down from the previous year’s size of 9.7 billion U.S. dollars, while sector was forecast to recover in 2021. Global fish production weighed in at approximately 177.8 million tonnes of fish caught in 2019. In Japan (where three of the top 10 Fishing companies are located), fishing makes up a massive portion of their agricultural sector which contributes as much as 1.2% to GDP (no small feat for the world’s third largest economy).
I mean, I know the industry is big… but I didn’t realise the cost that comes with it…
Starting out, Ali Tabrizi tells us his story in Seaspiracy, explaining how the documentary actually began as an investigation into what his true passion is/was – getting plastic out of the ocean and restoring the ecosystems that we are destroying at an alarming rate. However, Tabrizi has come to face the reality that this would be a monumental mission – but here’s the kicker: even if we pull it off, the largest contributor to the plastic in the ocean is fishing nets…cast aside by the death traps that are modern fishing vessels.
And, as he digs deeper and starts to follow the money, Tabrizi goes down a dark, dark tunnel, putting his life and freedom at risk to expose how not only is the fishing industry destroying our environment by using the ocean as its dumping ground with an endless supply of food, but how all of the environmental advocacy organisations such as the Earth Island institute are compliant and unwilling to talk about the effects of fishing on ocean plastic pollution levels.
He also breaks down the concept of “sustainable fishing”, fish farms and other so-called ethical alternatives and how eating fish is often bad for our bodies (particularly due to the presence of micro-plastics). Oh, and those dolphin safe stickers that you see on your cans of tuna? Don’t trust them.
There are also multiple tales of sheer inhumanity and cruelty when Tabrizi touches on the subjects of bycatch (sharks/dolphins/turtles that are caught up in nets with the fish that are caught), modern slavery in the fishing industry and, most disturbingly, whaling. Look away during the whaling scenes – you’ve been warned. It literally brought me to tears and isn’t for the faint hearted.
But, despite the fact that it was disturbing to watch, Seaspiracy has informed me about something so important that I knew so little about. It inspires me to redirect our efforts in the way we approach environmental issues, whether through advocacy or our consumption habits – and I suspect that, by the time you watch it, you’ll be inspired to make a change as well.
Essential Millennial rating: 5 out of 5 avocadoes