Documentary Film, Sea The Truth
In 2048 the oceans will be empty. Is there a solution? Yes, we must stop fishing and eating fish. Your fork is your most powerful weapon.
This eye-opening, disturbing documentary presents the declining state of our oceans today. Interviews with leading marine biologists and scientists around the world, along with scientific research and statistics that show marine life in decline, provide strong evidence that our oceans and marine life are in great danger.
Leading scientists such as Daniel Pauly suggest that if we continue to catch and eat fish at the current rate, our oceans and seas will be empty within 30 years. Fish stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1900 were once teeming with fish, but a hundred years later, are nearly all but depleted. Over 90 percent of marine predatory fish are gone and 80 percent of all other commercial fish species have disappeared from over fishing and destructive fisheries. Modern fishing techniques using bottom trawlers are scraping the floor of the sea killing and destroying everything it its path and leaving nothing behind. Long line fishing methods used to fish tuna, are catching and killing millions of tons of by-catch including endangered sea turtles, porpoises, and sharks that die a slow, painful death, and suffering great distress over a slow 24 hours of being pulled in the ocean. By-catch is a terrible waste, and nearly all of it is thrown overboard. When you buy and consume tuna, you are not only eating tuna, you are supporting and condoning the killing of millions by-catch fish and mammals as well, all thrown overboard and wasted.
The film is broken out into five major themes that address the leading issues for our oceans and marine life today, including: Overfishing, destructive fisheries, pollution, wastefulness and fish consciousness.
Overfishing is the greatest threat to ocean ecosystems today because fish are being taken faster than they can reproduce. Young fish in their reproductive years are being fished before they can reproduce. Before the 1960s, fishing was far more sustainable because boats had limited access, were small and had limited space on board to hold fish. But today, these boats have been replaced by giant factory ships that trawl the bottom of the ocean raking in all marine life in its path—causing enormous and vast destruction and death to marine life. In Newfoundland, cod fishing thrived for centuries, until the 1960s when larger ocean trawlers collapsed fish stocks and caused the crash of the cod industry in just a couple of decades. With the fishing industry fishing 24 hours a day, the use of giant factory ships, global access, not enough governmental regulation, and more boats than ever—our ocean life is disappearing.
Bottom trawling is causing irreversible damage and destruction to marine life, the ocean floor, fragile marine habitats, coral reefs and killing tons of animals and fish as by catch. With this technology, there is no life that escapes alive from bottom trawling. Large indiscriminate nets pull up everything from the ocean, yet only some 50-60 percent of fish are used. The rest is wasted and tossed out. Trawler fishing is deeply unsustainable. Another destructive technology is used to catch tuna, called long lining, which uses thousands of large hooks that indiscriminately also catch and kill dolphins, endangered sea turtles, sharks and many larger mammals—all are wasted and thrown overboard.
Fish today are full of toxins and poisons including dioxins (from the 60s), flame-retardants, mercury, PCBs and other plastic contaminants. With the enormous plastic waste gyres consuming more and more of our oceans, and now outweighing plankton by 6:1, fish are becoming increasing polluted and sick. The majority of marine trash is plastic and fish are mistaking this plastic waste for food. When people eat fish they are consuming the same toxic chemicals that the fish have eaten.
Researchers and animal physiologists studying fish for over 30 years confirm that fish experience pain, stress and suffering like all sentient beings do. It’s also documented that they have long-term memories. Large-scale industrial fishing causes extreme pain and suffering for fish that are caught on long lines and dragged for 24 hours, and are crushed in nets used by trawler ships. Fish are considered sentient beings, so fishing according to scientists, is a very cruel, painful experience for them.
Globally we are catching 100 million tons of fish annually. Approximately 30-40 million tons, or 30-40 percent of this catch becomes fish meal to feed factory farmed fish, factory farmed pigs, chickens, cows and even our pets.
The fish oil industry is another extremely wasteful resource especially considering that only 3 percent of fish are composed of fish oil, so it takes an exponential number of fish to produce fish oil capsules. Couple that with the majority of fish oil claims that have been medically and scientifically found to be completely untrue, and unnecessary, coupled with the fact that there are better alternatives and sources of Omega 3 fatty acids that are far less destruction to the planet and our ecosystems.
What’s the Solution?
- The choices we make now and in the future will determine the condition of our oceans and our own future. It’s up to us.
- Our greatest weapon is the fork. Replace fish with plant protein that is equally healthy, contains less fat, less cholesterol, is sustainable, sand doesn’t destroy our oceans.
- When you order fish at grocery stores and restaurants, consider you are contributing to the continuing depletion of our oceans and more fishing.
- Vote for federal and state government representatives that will actively campaign to protect our oceans, marine life and environment, and support sustainability and sustainable practices. Stricter government and inter-government regulations and agreements to severely limit fishing quotas are what’s needed
Quotes From the Film
“Our oceans are rapidly becoming more empty, and if we don’t do anything then we face one of the biggest disasters in the history of mankind.”
“Our oceans have been devastated at an unthinkable speed. In 30 years, the oceans will be completely empty, and there will be no more edible fish left.”
“We are removing more fish today than ever before, the European Union is setting quotas about 50 percent higher than what is recommended by leading scientists. The annual fish catch is far exceeding what scientists recommend.”
“The fishing industry is responsible for the disappearance of fish species and the destruction of valuable ecosystems—and that’s also true for “sustainable” industries. This entire industry runs off billions from government subsidies and a complete lack of regulation.”
“Since the 1950s the global fish catches have quadrupled to over 100 million tons of fish and by-catch annually.”
“20 years later after the complete decimation of the cod industry, there’s been no growth of the cod stock. What’s needed is zero catch to let the stocks build up.”
“The oceans receive less than 1 percent protection.”
“According to marine scientists, 40 percent of all fish caught, are by catch, and are thrown overboard dead or dying and are later discarded.”
“Many mangroves have been turned into shrimp hatcheries and factories. Nearly 80 to 90 percent of all the mangroves are gone due to the fishing industries.”
“Coral reefs are dying from pollution and global warming, caused by man and the increase of carbon dioxide that is being absorbed by the oceans.”
“The Blue Fin tuna industry won’t accept that the fish stock is collapsing. They just continue to fish, and continue to fish, until the stock will collapse, then they blame everyone else but themselves.”
“It is already happening at a very fast rate. Many fish stocks have declined by 95 percent and are nearly gone or are already extinct. Our oceans used to be covered with animals, but it is now only a shadow of what it was.”
“If we squander our oceans as we are doing, our survival on the planet is not guaranteed.”
“Is there a solution? Yes, we must stop fishing and eating fish. Your fork is your most powerful weapon.”
“We hear ‘Eat more fish, it’s healthy,’ but is it really? And at what cost? 100 percent natural is not 100 percent healthy.”
Film Length: 60 Minutes
Originally Premiered: May 19, 2010 in The Netherlands
- Professor Dr. Gert Flik, Radoud University Nijmegen
- Professor Dr. Daniel Pauly, University of British Columbia
- Professor Dr. Tinka Murk, Wageningen University and Research Center
- Dr. Stephan van Leeuwen, VU University Amsterdam
More About the Film
Read more about Sea The Truth
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About the Book, Sea the Truth, Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change
is an addendum to the documentary Sea the Truth
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Film by: Claudine Everaert and Gertjan Zwanikken
Produced by: Alalena Mediaproductions
Narrated by: Marianne Thieme, Member of Parliament Party for the animals, The Netherlands
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