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Seaspiracy Reveals Dark Truth Of Humans’ Impact On The Oceans

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 24 Mar 2021 17:08
Seaspiracy Reveals Dark Truth Of Humans' Impact On The OceansSeaspiracy/Instagram

One thing that should be top of people’s list of concerns is our oceans, and watching Netflix’s new documentary Seaspiracy will show you why.

While there are many ways in which humans are harming the planet, the 90-minute film focuses on the devastating impact the fishing industry has on marine life, and uncovers the global corruption behind it all.

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Ali Tabrizi, who made and stars in Seaspiracy, spoke to UNILAD about creating the harrowingly truthful documentary and what it was like filming it.

Describing some precarious positions he found himself in, Ali explained, ‘I genuinely feared for my life a few times. Sometimes while filming in potentially risky situations the adrenalin can really get to you, and at certain times in Thailand, for example, I was definitely sweating bullets. But we were there voluntarily, unlike some of the people whose story we tell in the film who actually had fled for their lives, witnessed murders, and may have had people after them.’

‘Some of the worst forms of human rights abuses are happening at sea right now, outside the jurisdiction of any country. It’s a wild and lawless place, and there are individuals and corporations who will do anything to either play down or keep a lid on their stories.’

Check out the trailer here:

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Having loved the ocean all his life, Ali had always aspired to make his own documentary, especially after watching David Attenborough films as a kid. However, after learning about how much marine life was dying as a result of plastic pollution, he started to do his own investigations into the matter, which resulted in Seaspiracy being created.

Ali said:

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. The film is a documentation of that journey.

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Ali said several moments come to mind when he realised just how bad the seas had become while filming Seaspiracy, but highlighted a particular moment in West Africa that ‘really opened [his] eyes’.

Ali told UNILAD, ‘What really opened my eyes to the huge impact we are having on our planet was while at sea with Sea Shepherd off the coast of West Africa. It’s here that the intersection of wildlife loss, international corruption, and human impact are most clearly seen.’

He continued: ‘Subsidized European and Chinese fishing fleets equipped with the latest ex-military technology are cornering one of the last strongholds for wildlife at sea and plundering unimaginable numbers of fish and other species – often to be ground up as fish feed for salmon farms across the world.’

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Sea Shepherd is a conservation society set up by Paul Watson in 1977, which focuses on the protection of marine wildlife. Paul, who was also one of the co-founders of world-renowned environmental organisation Greenpeace, describes Sea Shepherd as using ‘aggressive non-violence’ as a conservation technique, and has gone on to shut down hundreds of illegal operations without harming anyone or any animal in the process.

The group contributed towards the creation of Seaspriacy, in which Paul also features.

Speaking to UNILAD about the new documentary and how he came to be part of it, Paul explained, ‘A few years ago, Kip Anderson (Seaspiracy‘s exeuctive producer) did another documentary named Cowspiracy about the ecological impact the meat industry has – it was really powerful and won a lot of awards and we were really happy to be part of that.’

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‘Kip got together with Ali to create Seaspiracy, and we contributed to co-produce it because we feel like it’s a really important message to get across: the impact of industrialised fishing on our environment and on the oceans especially.’

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Paul continued:

I think [Seaspiracy is] going to go on to be a powerful film and we’re happy it’s going to be on Netflix. It really does expose a lot of the myths about sustainability – I don’t really believe there’s a sustainable fishery anywhere in the world. […] Basically, what sustainability means is ‘business as usual’, but they just call it another name.

The seafood industry isn’t said to be too pleased about the release of Seaspiracy, and some have claimed it’s inaccurate. Paul said, ‘The seafood industry is pretty upset about the film as they’ve already condemned it and they haven’t even seen it. They’ve been issuing things about how it’s full of gross inaccuracies, but they haven’t seen it. […] The fact that they’re condemning it could be seen as good endorsement.’

Both Ali and Paul hope the film will highlight the ongoing issue surrounding our oceans, its wildlife and their demise, as well as encouraging people to do something to make a change.

Touching upon what he thinks we need to do to help save our oceans, Ali said:

We really need a global shift towards a plant-based diet as much as possible. If that means starting with one day a week, or going 100% overnight, everything helps. I truly believe it’s the single most effective thing anyone can do in their daily lives to protect our seas, and so much more.

But we also need to get our governments to stop propping up one of, if not the most, destructive industries on earth – the fishing industry – to the tune of $35 billion a year. It’s unacceptable, especially as according to the United Nations only $30 billion would solve world hunger.

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Ali added, ‘Finally, let’s unite as a planet to turn massive areas of our seas into marine sanctuaries so that wildlife can replenish after the many decades and centuries of intensive exploitation. We have to ask ourselves what kind of planet we want to live on, and what kind of legacy we are choosing to leave for our kids.’

Paul concluded, ‘If we really want to solve the problem, we have to learn to live in harmony with all these other species and we have to protect them.’

‘We have to protect the ecosystems,’ Paul continued. ‘If we don’t do that then we’re going to be aliens on our own planet. It’s a desperate situation but I still don’t think people are understanding the problem. […] The only way people are going to understand is if we have a complete shift in the way we think and we have to get rid of this anthropocentric idea that we’re superior and dominant over everything else.’

Seaspiracy is available to watch on Netflix now. 

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Documentary, Featured, Film and TV, Netflix, Now, oceans