Seaspiracy is a Netflix documentary film directed by Ali Tabrizi and released in 2021. Also starring Ali Tabrizi, the documentary is about the catastrophic environmental impact caused by the fishing industry and its reasons. The film examines the negative impact of human activity on marine life and ecosystems and advocates for an end to all marine life consumption to allow the oceans to revive themselves.
The documentary gained a lot of popularity following its release and sparked much controversy over the subject matter. However, the messages contained in Seaspiracy have captured the hearts and minds of many who have now turned to support those who advocate an end to fishing and marine consumption.
Here are the most important messages that Seaspiracy has to offer to all people today.
Plastic Straws Is One of Many Problems
The documentary opens with a discussion on plastic, specifically the detrimental effect that plastic waste has on our seas. Plastic waste includes straws, plastic bottles, plastic cutlery, and plastic bag, which make up a large majority of the plastic waste used by humans.
According to Seaspiracy, approximately the equivalent of a truckload of plastic is dumped into the oceans every single minute. What’s even worse, much of this plastic waste ends up in the stomachs of marine animals, thereby threatening their lives.
However, the documentary highlights that an even greater percentage of plastic waste in the seas results from the commercial fishing industry. Moreover, the lack of reporting about this phenomenon only makes the matter even worse.
We Need The Ocean To Survive
This grim quote was one of the many important assertions in the documentary that became popular after its release. Tabrizi explains that marine animals such as whales and dolphins that are under serious threat via plastic pollution are essential to the maintenance of the ocean ecosystem.
Whales and dolphins, among other ocean mammals, help to fertilize tiny marine plant-like organisms known as phytoplankton. These organisms are responsible for absorbing much of the carbon dioxide that gets absorbed in the ocean, absorbing over 4 times the amount of carbon dioxide than the Amazon Forest.
In turn, these tiny ocean creatures generate over 80% of the oxygen we all breathe. Therefore, the danger to the lives of marine mammals means that the ocean organisms will generate less oxygen, which will have detrimental effects on all of humanity.
We Can’t Trust The Sustainable Seafood Label
We have all seen the sustainable seafood label that comes with much of the canned and packaged seafood we consume. However, Seaspiracy showed that this label is not as much of a guarantee of sustainability as we would like to believe.
Numerous interviews in the documentary with people from marine organizations showed that it is almost impossible to be fully aware of the fishing practices on the open seas. Moreover, there is no guarantee that any sea creatures are not killed in the process.
Fishing Industry Regulations Are Not Enforced
Despite having numerous regulations to minimize overfishing and bycatch (other marine species captured along with the targeted species), Seaspiracy showed that it is nearly impossible to enforce all these regulations. This is mostly due to the vast number of unmonitored commercial fishing vessels operating in the sea at any given moment.
Moreover, commercial fishing vessels are responsible for the deaths of numerous important marine creatures, such as sea turtles. In addition, practices like bottom trawling have been estimated to wipe out close to 3.9 billion hectares of seafloor every year.
Shark Finning Contributes To The Problem
While investigating various whaling practices in Taiji, the filmmakers of Seaspiracy also discovered that sharks were being killed for their fins, mostly for the production of shark fin soup. Tabrizi points out that overkilling of sharks can have extremely detrimental effects on the marine ecosystem.
Since sharks are apex predators, meaning that they are at the top of the marine food chain, they help keep the populations of other, more populous fish under control. This is highly beneficial for the marine ecosystem as it helps maintain a balance between ocean populations and resources.
We Must Stop The Overfishing
It would be impossible to make efforts to mitigate a problem that people aren’t even aware of. In Seaspiracy, Tabrizi remarks that the commercial fishing industry is responsible for catching up to 2.7 trillion fish every year. This makes real the very detrimental consequence of the extinction of many fish species, which are essential parts of the marine ecosystem.
The documentary remarks that it is estimated that if overfishing continues at the current rate, the world’s oceans will be virtually empty by the year 2048.
Awareness Is The First Step
All in all, Tabrizi’s documentary highlighted the fact that it is necessary to spread more awareness about the harmful effects of most human activities on the oceans. In highlighting this, Tabrizi suggested that focusing solely on plastic straws to save the oceans would be akin to eliminating toothpicks to save the Amazon rainforest.
Therefore, one important takeaway from Seaspiracy was that simple solutions are not enough. While they are a step in the right direction, humanity would need to come up with large scale changes and rigorous solutions to fight back against the death of the oceans.
Slow Down Fish Consumption
The final message in Seaspiracy was perhaps the most meaningful but also the least digestible claim made in the entire documentary. According to Tabrizi and many of the experts he interviewed, the only way to save the oceans is by allowing them to revive themselves naturally. This would require humans to cease all marine intervention, including fishing so that the oceans can start repairing themselves.
The world as we know it is defined by the marine biology and ecosystems of our seas and oceans. They are a vital part of how our world manages to sustain itself and provide a home to millions of marine species that we share this planet with. “Seaspiracy managed to highlight some of the most key concerns regarding the damage done to the oceans by human activities,” according to the Scott J Cooper Council, “The time to act is now. If we keep kicking these problems down to the next generation, we will miss our opportunity and the human and financial cost will be exponentially more.”