By Carleon Hardie
Not all of you will have a Netflix subscription but if you do, or know someone who does, I highly recommend watching the 2021 documentary, Seaspiracy, by director Ali Tabrizi.
In his tremendous love of our oceans, he set out to film their amazingness, all the breathtaking species in them, and explore how humans were challenging the habitats there with our plastic waste. He risked his and his crew’s lives only to discover that while waste plastics were a huge problem, a much bigger insidious secret was being kept about the whole commercial fishing and fish farming industries.
Be warned that while the film is very well written and the artistry is impressive, the message given is terrifying. In many talks about the need for us to collectively stop burning fossil fuels and get corporations to stop their polluting and wasteful ways, advocates are urging the average citizen to get in touch with their political representatives to demand change at the policy level. The dire situation with commercial fishing is no different.
We need policies that make it illegal to dump so many nets and other waste off of fishing ships as that waste dwarfs the advertised plastic waste there that we are made aware of. It is abhorrent to kill so many other species trying to catch a certain one when there is better technology to reduce bycatch, and it is far-fetched to assume diseased fish farms are an acceptable alternative, and unthinkable to use as slaves so we can eat seafood at will.
Similar to household recycling distracting from the fact that corporations keep using more and more plastic and non-recyclable packaging, it is a distraction that dolphin safe labels have been on certain tuna labels for many years. It was sickening to learn that the people and organizations behind these labels cannot and will not guarantee any such thing as dolphin safety.
Our oceans are poised on the brink of dying and since they have so much to do with providing the oxygen we breathe and regulating weather patterns that keep our Earth habitable, we too will face harmful effects if our current practices are not ended immediately.
Similar to Greta Thunberg’s assertion that Mother Earth could heal herself if humans and their destructiveness and gluttony got out of the way, Ali assures us that our oceans could heal and rebound if left alone. The film asserts that plant-based alternatives to seafood consumption could provide as many helpful oils and nutrients as seafood without supporting such a tremendously destructive industry. It is a film worth seeing, talking about, praying about, and sharing with anyone you meet! For the love of Earth, God help us!
Carleon is the Climate Justice Facilitator for St. James Dundas