It’s World Tuna Day on Sunday, which will undoubtedly re-ignite the discussions around sustainable fishing and the Seaspiracy documentary on Netflix. The film set out to document the harm humans do to marine species but ended up in controversy. Some statistics used in the documentary were outdated or misleading, and many felt uncomfortable with the emotional angle taken.
The areas of overfishing , bycatch , organized crime and plastics as covered in the documentary have been covered quite comprehensively elsewhere. However, we would recommend looking at this article from ECO Magazine. It looks at the evidence presented and assesses the science behind each claim. It’s a well-researched, well-argued and easy-to-read article that offers a balanced and unemotional viewpoint on the documentary.
Missing the point
However, looking only at the controversy surrounding the facts, figures and claims is to miss a vital message – one that appears to have been overlooked by most mainstream media. It centers around the claims regarding the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), the Earth Island Institute’s dolphin-safe labels and eco-labeling in general.
Today, consumers are busy and don’t have time or inclination to research what each of the numerous organizations and eco-labels stands for. Even if the criteria are found, they are often in a language not easily understood by the general public. There also appears to be no standardization or benchmarks that enable consumers to compare like with like easily. Undoubtedly, these certifications have filled a hole left by governments and a lack of regulation and have generally improved standards, however, they are not the panacea that some were hoping for .
Controversy = attention
Seaspiracy was a brutal watch. Some of the scenes were shocking, but that was the point. Without those graphic scenes, none of the media attention would have happened. Notwithstanding any views on the rights or wrongs of the documentary, it has opened up the conversation about fish and fishing in a way that hasn’t happened todate, and that has to be good.
Listen to our conscience
The film highlighted the need for consumers to educate themselves. The truth is often inconvenient, and it takes effort to dig a little deeper. However, we must all ask questions and continue to challenge eco-labeling. And after finding the answers, it’s down to our own conscience. As with sustainability and climate change issues generally, we all know the facts, but it’s whether we choose to acknowledge them and change our behavior accordingly.
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