The new Netflix documentary “Seaspiracy” was released in late March, just a month before Earth Day. As the title alludes to, the film emphasizes the cycle of corruption within commercial fisheries and the extensive conspiracy theory surrounding the ethics of the fishing industry. Specifically, Tabrizi accuses fishing companies of being more complicit than helpful in overfishing and pollution of the ocean. Despite the semi-sensational presentation of info in the film, there is something to be said about the documentary’s argument for more sustainable fishing practices.
Ali Tabrizi, director and narrator, begins by recounting his romanticized vision of making a documentary about the ocean. Tabrizi then dives into several lesser-known issues that have contributed to the degradation of oceans, in addition to the plastic littering which has created huge garbage patches that infect all levels of the ecosystem.
Overwhelmingly, the film’s statistical comparisons point beyond microplastics and trash to other issues, such as fish farming and accidental catching. The film posits that, not only does overfishing contribute to climate change more than oil spills or trash, but that the fishing industry even covers up a form of slavery, in which men are kidnapped and forced into fishing labor in Thai waters with interviews sourced in Bangkok.
Tabrizi gathers a wide range of sources, including Pail de Gelder, an ex-marine who began advocating for sharks after he survived a shark attack; Richard O’Barry, the founder of the Dolphin Project; Callum Roberts, a marine scientist; and other journalists, activists and even executives of plastic prevention and overfishing prevention organizations. Most of these sources speak in earnest to the issues Tabrizi highlights, while people on the “prevention” side of things seem a bit tight-lipped.
The film succeeds in raising awareness and consciousness of the current state of the world’s oceans. Lessons learned include: eat less fish and watch where your money is going in terms of “charitable” organizations. While some of Tabrizi’s conclusions come off as a little fishy, the film is certainly worth the watch.