Seaspiracy Director Says Destruction Of Our Oceans Is ‘The Neglected Environmental Issue Of Our Time’
While global warming is having devastating effects on our oceans, people often fail to acknowledge other ways in which humans are negatively impacting Earth’s waters.
From melting ice caps to plastic pollution, our oceans have been under attack for decades; with the help of Seaspiracy however, people have since realised how the globe’s industrial fishing industry is also damaging the sea and its marine life.
At the time of its release, the documentary’s director Ali Tabrizi told UNILAD about what inspired him to conduct his investigations into the fishing industry.
He explained, ‘When news reached me a few years ago of the amount of marine life becoming entangled and dying as a result of plastic, I started to become more aware of the plight of our seas, and was lead down a rabbit whole which took me from the secret dolphin hunting coves of Japan, to the distant exploited waters of West Africa, to sitting face to face with escaped slaves of the fishing industry in Thailand.’
Ali described Seaspiracy as a ‘documentation of that journey’.
Watch the trailer here:
Several weeks after its release, we spoke to Ali again for World Ocean Day today, June 8, and discussed the response he’s received in the wake of the documentary’s release.
As a filmmaker who has cared deeply about this issue for years, watching Seaspiracy soar to the Top 10 movies on Netflix in about 50 countries in a matter of weeks was absolutely insane. I could never have imagined Seaspiracy having such an impact across such a wide demographic within and outside of the English speaking world.
Sure we got a few criticisms, especially from within the fishing industry, but that was to be expected. We exposed the reality and destruction of an industry valued in its hundreds of billions of dollars, and we rocked the boat.
Following the success of Seaspiracy, Ali has created a petition calling for 30% of the UK’s waters to be protected from industrial fishing by 2030. At the time of writing, it has generated almost 700,000 signatures. As the petition states, only 4% of the nation’s oceans are currently protected from industrial fishing, known as no-catch zones.
Discussing his campaign, Ali told UNILAD, ‘I’m not usually one for signing petitions, because there are so many out there and it can be hard to find ones that actually deliver on their promises. So I wanted to make sure that if we started a petition, that we would do more than just wave pretty banners.’
‘Our Change.org petition has reached over 680,000 signatures,’ Ali continued, ‘And we are going to make sure world leaders actually hear our voices, which is why we are launching our Crowdfunder this World Ocean Day. This will lead to an international billboard and light projection campaign, along with other eye-catching media stunts to get the world to pay attention and pressure world leaders to protect 30% of our ocean from fishing operations by the year 2030.’
Sticking with the ’30’ theme, the Crowdfunding target is set at £30,030.
Undeniably, Seaspiracy draws much needed attention to the state of our oceans, but this momentum needs to continue for us to make a difference.
Describing the destruction of the oceans as ‘the neglected environmental issue of our time’, Ali explained why he thinks our attention needs to continue to be focused on our waters this World Ocean Day.
Since the start of World Oceans Day in 1992, we have lost over half of the Great Barrier Reefs corals, along with the continued decimation, to near extinction, of countless other marine species.
Seaspiracy exposed that the leading threat to our oceans is the fishing industry, and governments around the world are turning a blind eye. Even within so-called ‘Marine Protected Areas’, the fishing industry is still allowed to wreak havoc. For example, 97% of the UK’s MPA’s still allow bottom trawling – the most destructive form of fishing. It’s outrageous. Our Crowdfunder and petition will change this. I would like as many people as possible to join our movement this World Oceans Day, and support our cause.
As well as signing his petition, Ali has previously highlighted the importance of having a plant-based diet. He told us in March there needs to be a ‘global shift’ towards eating more plant-based foods, and he truly believes that doing so is ‘the single most effective thing anyone can do in their daily lives to protect our seas, and so much more.’
As to what’s next for Ali, in addition to campaigning for better preservation of our oceans, he told UNILAD he’s mainly working on short-form media for the time being, but hasn’t dismissed the idea of making another documentary like Seaspiracy.
He said, ‘Right now, our emphasis is on creating educational and investigative short-form media content over on our Instagram and other socials. But who knows, maybe another ocean-related documentary could be in the works one day soon!’
Seaspiracy is available to watch on Netflix now.
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