Opinion: Netflix’s Seaspiracy unearths new threat to our seas

British documenter Ali Tabrizi presents a powerful plea to save our oceans from the commercial fishing industry, sparking controversial conversations globally.

As open-minded and mouldable emerging adults, it is common knowledge between us that plastic is bad for the sea. You’ve heard it before, I’ve heard it before, and every person sat in the Arboretum within Nottingham last week would probably have heard it before as well (but let’s not get into that right now)…

Seaspiracy targets an unexpected new angle that disputes plastic pollution as the number one cause for diminishing ocean life.

Ali Tabrizi’s Seaspiracy – released on March 24, 2021 – accentuates that our ocean’s number one enemy is the commercial fishing industries; suggesting if we let their “greedy” nature continue, our oceans will be empty by 2048.

Immoral and overused human practices such as bottom trawling are causing the ocean’s ecosystem to dramatically decline. Excessively large nets that trawl the bottom of the ocean capture any lifeform that gets in its way which creates a significantly worse problem: bycatch. Not only is it shocking enough that there is a given name for these accidental killings; Seaspiracy informs us that 300,000 whales and dolphins are victims of this “bycatch” each year. Moreover, 30,000 sharks are killed every hour. Yes, you heard that right. Every hour.

How has this complicit atrocity not been publicised sooner?

Tabrizi has been a life-long lover of everything ocean, especially marine wildlife including dolphins and whales. The beginning of his documentary represents this through old videotapes of his childhood memories at SeaWorld. Tabrizi’s joy and eagerness to watch dolphins exercise their “freedom” by them jumping through hoops in their caged pools is bittersweet. Juxtaposed with news headlines of whales, seals and turtles washing up dead on shores with rotting plastic indigested in their stomachs highlights further the monstrous effects humans have on our ocean’s biodiversity.

Whilst he originally set out to document his passion for the seas, Tabrizi’s journey quickly takes a dark turn upon discovering the shocking realities of commercial fishing such as whale hunting, lice-infested salmon farming, and the unambiguous nature over what “sustainability” even means.

The eye-opening documentary reveals that single-use plastic straws only account for 0.03% of ocean pollution; the true enemy is large-scale fishing equipment which accounts for 46% of waste in the Pacific Ocean’s garbage patch. Even more shockingly, the length of fishing line used per day within the industry can be wrapped around the earth 500 times… and you can guess where that ends up.

Yes, it ends up in the ocean. Usually around the neck of a turtle or clogging the blowhole of a dolphin.

Ultimately, this documentary shines a light on what commercial industries hide to prevent their profits from diminishing.

If you are not 100% sold yet, let me leave this here…

With only 1000 sea turtles killed around the globe per year due to plastic, it is important you know that, in that same year, ¼ of a million turtles are killed or injured by fishing vessels in the USA alone. It is important that you know that from 2000-2015, for each one dolphin captured for captive entertainment, 12 were brutally murdered. It is important you know an actual employee that runs the “Dolphin Safe” label awarding company stated that once ships are at sea, officials have no control or knowledge of how many dolphins are harmed.

It is important you know that you are being lied to.

I am not here to force you out of eating fish, nor am I preaching that Seaspiracy denounces everything right and wrong regarding our oceans. With recent news coverage suggesting that claims made by NGO’s and experts interviewed in Seaspiracy were misleading alongside some information taken out of context, it is important to note that there is a bigger issue at hand here.

It is not about “who said what”, it is about the millions of animals being mercilessly killed by our own human error and ignorance. It is not time for blame. It is time for a change.

This only proves further that more research, more conversation, and more education about pollution needs to take place urgently. The Netflix film is one I believe we all should watch to be informed and educated about the consequential dangers facing our planet; we need to come together and protect Earth.

 Seaspiracy is available to stream on Netflix

 By Sophie Avant

Feature image: Netflix

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