Josef here in Washington, DC! You may have heard that some colleagues of mine are currently in Park City, Utah, attending the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to help draw attention to the plight of overfishing on our seas as documented in the Sundance entry End Of the Line. Willie MacKenzie, an Oceans campaigner from Greenpeace UK, has joined our international delegation at the film festival and brings you this latest report.
So, what’s the movie we’re here in Sundance with about then? Well it’s an adaptation of Charles Clover’s brilliant book on overfishing, the End Of The Line, which is an evocative, and shocking portrayal of what we have done, and are doing to our oceans – just to put seafood on our plates.
Seafood is a global issue, and practically nowhere on our seas is beyond human reach now – the movie gives an overview of the main issues like overfishing, destructive fishing and poor management. The movie takes a global look at the true price we’re paying for our seafood, vividly illustrating the impact we’re having, but that very few of us even realise.
All-too-often the things that concern us in the ocean involve what we refer to as “charismatic megafauna”– the big cuddly animals that people like to like. But if you really do care about whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, and seabirds, then you have to care about all the other sealife too. They can’t exist in isolation, and as well as killing these critters directly as “bycatch” we are also trashing their homes, and destroying their food sources too. To add insult to injury the disastrous effects of excessive and destructive fishing are all compounded more by the other ways we upset the ocean, like the impacts of climate change and pollution.
The film really gives you a vivid idea of just how vast, and urgent the issue is. And, as Charles Clover himself says in the film, at a time when human population is increasing exponentially, and when the impacts of climate change are affecting us all, unless we act now to stop overfishing, we will have squandered one of the most important natural resources we have.
So, assuming you care about the ocean, whether you just like the cuddly animals, or like the amazing, fascinating, weird ones, or assuming you like eating fish – this matters to you. And the film explains succinctly why. The oceans belong to all of us, not the fishing industry, the oil & gas industry, or the politicians who seem to listen only to them – and all of us need to claim them back.
Yet, there is still hope. And if there is one message from the movie to take home (and one that’s all the more relevant being in the USA today) it’s that change is possible. If we want to move to sustainable methods and levels of fishing, then we can. And we can give our oceans protection by creating no-take Marine Reserves.
So if you’re wondering if this problem is one we can solve – the simple answer is “Yes, We Can.”
Check out the trailer online now at www.endoftheline.com