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Seaspiracy: Is It Worth Watching?

Updated: Apr 6



Seaspiracy is Netflix's explosive new documentary from the creators of world-famous factory farming exposé ‘Cowspiracy’. Seaspiracy exposes the fishing industry's devastating impact on marine life and uncovers the corruption that exists in the multibillion-dollar seafood industry. Is your seafood really sustainable?


WHAT IS SEASPIRACY ABOUT?

Seaspiracy is about the sustainability practices of the multibillion-dollar seafood and fishing industries.


The documentary exposes the fishing industry's worst-kept secrets to us on how commercial fish farming has a devastating impact on marine life, with references to the dolphins, sharks, and whales, which is vital for the survival of the oceans.


It also uncovers the corruption that exists in the multibillion-dollar seafood industry. Its coverage is wide, from fish farm slavery to commercial whaling, to microplastics, to overfishing, bringing all these together to a criticism of the myth of sustainability.


Credit: Artgrid

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR SEASPIRACY?

Seaspiracy is directed and narrated by 27-year-old Ali Tabrizi, a British filmmaker and produced by Kip Andersen.


Tabrizi was inspired at an early age, seated on the lap of his mother at Sea World watching dolphins do tricks. This love for marine life went on in adulthood even when his sea life's romantic notion turned to harsh reality. This prompted him to donate and sign petitions to environmentalist organizations, with the hope of curbing this pollution, whaling, and other conservationist causes.


He is a well known environmentalist and critic of commercial practices that he deems unsustainable.


IS SEASPIRACY INTERESTING?

Seaspiracy is a thrilling adventure across the world from Scandinavia to Japan to expose how humans drain resources from the seas and oceans. Tabrizi's investigations during Seaspiracy often feel immense and danger-filled. The fact he is often unwelcome wherever he goes and even denied interviews seems to be aimed at springing viewers into action.


The documentary portrays a sensational journalist's qualities when he joins the Sea Shepherd, a group of militarized versions of the Greenpeace, on a nighttime raid of illegal fishing boats. He puts on hidden cameras when he infiltrates a fishing industry.


With all the hunting of large and small sea creatures, it is suggested that none will survive to the future and the entire marine ecosystem will collapse by the end of this century.


MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM SEASPIRACY

The documentary is filled with several scenes and dialogues that will keep you at the edge of your seat with awe and wonder of the kind of world we are living in.


There are many dialogues that you will remember after watching this film, but this one stuck with me; an unknown former slave of the Thai Fishing Industry says to Tabriz, "If you are scared of dying, go home". That is how dangerous exposing this industry may be.



IS SEASPIRACY GRAPHIC?

Yes, Seaspiracy is quite a graphic documentary with many disturbing images shown.


Seaspiracy brings us images of the so-called "sustainable whaling practices" where fishermen reduce a group of pilot whales to pieces of flesh floating in a pool of their blood.


Sustainably farmed fish are shown, packed in floating cages, and are being eaten alive by lice.


It is often hard to take in such information, considering that this is not fiction but reality.


The Thai fishing industry is reported to be using slave labour to catch shrimps and prawns.


Tabrizi discovers that in South Japan, in Taiji, dolphins are slaughtered, with the accusation that they eat too many fish, just to cover the real overfishing that happens. Some evidence suggests this occurrence has a more devastating impact on the ecosystem than deforestation has.


KEY FACTS AND STATS FROM SEASPIRACY

  • The discarded fishing equipment made of plastic takes up 46% of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean.

  • Mark Palmer from the Earth Island Institute proves himself to be very cunning. His explanation on why his organization's logo, "Dolphin Safe", found on the sides of Tuna cans, basically holds no meaning. His response is, "The world is a difficult place sometimes."

  • Statistically speaking, about 300,000 dolphins and whales are killed annually unintended during the fishing expeditions by fishers.

  • The regular overfishing and slaughter of dolphins in Japan may have a more devastating impact on the ecosystem than deforestation has.

  • By the time we get to 2050 the world's oceans and seas may be entirely depleted. The marine ecosystem is likely to collapse if human behaviour does not change. This stat is widely disputed by scientists and is based on a now-discredited paper.


WHAT PROBLEMS ARE SHOWN IN SEASPIRACY?

Labels about fish, like Dolphin safe, are a sham because people turn a blind eye and can be easily bribed to use unsustainable practices while roaming the lawless oceans.


Farmed fish are no better. They're fed on wild-caught fish, and when Tabrizi visits a Scottish farm undercover he is met with an awful stench. The salmon are lice-infested and have infectious diseases, including chlamydia.


Slavery, corruption, and danger are common. Near the end of the documentary, Tabrizi interviews some Thai fishermen who are enslaved to keep the fishing industry's economic costs at a low.


It is clear from the graphs used in the documentary that marine ecosystems will collapse by the time we get to 2050 with the current rate of overfishing by humans in the world's oceans and seas.


It won't be enough to buy from only the self-proclaimed eco-friendly labels as not all of them can be trusted. People may continue freely recycling our plastic but the billion-dollar mega corporations that would have a major impact on the reduction of our trash simply need to do more.


CRITICISMS OF SEASPIRACY

The documentary mostly interviews fellow eco activists and conservationists, laying the focus on examining their view-points of the situation. Some say that Seaspiracy feels like it comes from an agenda. Tabriz first brings out the problematic and controversial issues, then later dives into the main issue.


The documentary only talks about the problems and does not offer a solution. Seaspiracy often says that solutions are 'impossible' and 'do not exist' but this is false. There are lots of solutions that are already being successfully practiced. The defeatist attitude throughout the documentary is a major criticism and often leaves people feeling deflated rather than excited to help to start solving the issues.


Any of the topics mentioned in the documentary could be a subject of its independent documentary but are instead represented here as themes in this documentary, with hardly adequate time to showcase the complete picture of any single aspect.


Some point out that there are 'white saviour' undertones throughout Seaspiracy.


Seaspiracy is partially based some old and discredited data. One of the documentary's key points about when the oceans will be depleted is from a 2006 paper that is widely discredited, even the original author distanced himself from it.


Many of the practices shown in the documentary are chilling, but some of the conclusions about how widespread those practices are and how big an impact they have on marine ecosystems as a whole are questionable.



WHAT DOCUMENTARIES ARE SIMILAR TO SEASPIRACY?

Watching Seaspiracy will take you years back to 2009's documentary, 'The Cove' and 2013's 'Blackfish'. Seaspiracy is more effective in delivering some of the sustainability messages than 'The Cove', but maybe less effective than 'Blackfish'. ‘Cowspiracy’, which is from the same makers as Seaspiracy, is also similar.


IS SEASPIRACY WORTH WATCHING?

Yes. Seaspiracy is interesting, well-researched, highly informative, and genuinely shocking. It only really showcases one side of the debate and some of the data is questionable but it does shine a light on many of the real sustainability issues relating to marine ecosystems. We should be environmentally responsible and take Tabrizi’s advice as inspiration.


OUR TAKE

Ali Tabrizi paints to us a majorly effective and sometimes very disturbing image of an industry that has been left to run dishonourably for such a long time.


It is an exciting, interesting watch. The documentary portrays a sensational journalist's qualities when he joins the Sea Shepherd, a group of militarized versions of the Greenpeace, on a night-time raid of illegal fishing boats. He puts on hidden cameras when he infiltrates a fishing industry. He takes these, among many other life-threatening risks, to bring to light these inhumane acts being done to harm the ecosystem and deny the coming generations the beauties of marine life.


Tabrizi has delivered his point with enough persuasion to make Seaspiracy an eye-opening documentary that is well worth your time.



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