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Over the Easter break, we naturally lounged about and flicked on Netflix for a bit of guilt-free binging! It's hard to go past the 'Top 10 in Australia Today' which is where we found Seaspiracy.
There were some quite interesting facts brought to light in this doco that really shows how damaging the fishing industry is to our planet. Ali Tabrizi, creator of Seaspiracy is a 27-year-old filmmaker who's been passionate about marine life and the environment ever since he was a child. The intention of this film is to educate others and create more advocates for our planet and especially our ocean!
What Is Bycatch?
This might be a term you're hearing for the first time, so we'll break it down for you.
When large fishing nets are cast into the ocean their main objective is to bring up a lot of fish, which means, holes in the nets are tiny so the fish can't escape. This also means there is no way to filter out whatever else is swimming along the schools of fish like turtles, sharks, dolphins, small whales, sea birds and more.
If you're a tuna eater, you might feel comforted by the 'dolphin safe' label on your can. Unfortunately, it's impossible for tuna to be certified dolphin-safe. Seaspiracy interviews Mark J. Palmer of the Earth Island Institute (the organization behind the “dolphin-safe” logo) who confesses there really is no such thing as dolphin-safe tuna as dolphins are almost always caught in tuna and all fishnets. He also admitted that watchdogs hired to ensure no dolphins were caught can often be bribed or are simply not even on the ship, so it's very much the captain's word.
What Is Underwater Deforestation?
You've probably heard about how destructive deforestation is on land, but did you know it's just as bad underwater?
Bottom trawling involves dragging large heavy nets along the seafloor in order to catch marine life. These ships destroy vital habitats, release as much carbon as all the world’s air travel by disturbing ocean sediment, and the largest trawlers can catch 400 tons of fish per day.
Approximately 25 million acres of forest are lost every year. Yet 3.9 billion acres of seafloor are lost due to trawling. That’s the equivalent land area of: Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Australia demolished every year. Or the equivalent of losing 4,316 soccer fields every minute! - Seaspiracy
Why Does Our Ocean Matter?
Oceans play a more critical role than you may think. The Ocean is the largest carbon sink and stores 93% of the world's carbon. Essentially, if the ocean dies, we die.
The fishing industry is destroying marine life, causing extinction — keeping our species alive is crucial to our biodiversity. If sharks go extinct, the population of their food (fish) can increase causing a major upset in the food web. Sharks keep ecosystems in balance.
How Can We Save Our Oceans?
It's not all doom and gloom— you can make a few changes in your life that will make a difference and help save our oceans! Sea Shepherd founder, Paul Watson says the best way to help the Ocean is to leave it alone.
These are the 3 ways Seaspiracy suggests we can help save our oceans:
1. Shift to a plant-based diet.
2. Enforce no-catch marine reserves protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030.
3. End fishing subsidies (currently $35 billion per year).
There are many other subjects Seaspiracy covers like; the cruel dolphin killing in Taiji (Japan), the shark finning industry in China, slavery at sea on fishing boats, the pollution of the ocean with fishing nets and of course all the incredible work Sea Shepherd does around the world to stop fishing altogether.
Giving up seafood (or any animals products for that matter) doesn't mean you're going to miss out on delicious food or essential nutrients. The amount of plant-based foods offered at any major supermarkets (and at F&F) is exploding. We're really spoilt for choice, so there's really no better time to go vegan!