Seaspiracy: A Call to Action
Seaspiracy, the Netflix documentary that debuted last month, is already among the platform’s top 10 most-watched films worldwide. The film offers a deep dive into the world of commercial fishing- attracting endorsements from celebrities and environmentalists alike with its shocking picture of the harm the industry causes marine life. The commercial fishing industry is profit-oriented, meaning it often operates unsustainably to meet the growing demand for food. Seaspiracy highlighted the effects of bycatch and overfishing on our world’s oceans, stating that commercial fishing slaughters more animals than any industry on the planet. Furthermore, many commercial fishing operations are tainted by slave labor and human rights violations. Unfortunately, these operations are hidden far out at sea. The documentary also addressed the “plastic straw debate”, stating that while many organizations suggest plastic to be the main source of garbage in the ocean, the vast majority of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is fishing nets. Plastic straws only account for 0.03 of the ocean’s garbage.
Unfortunately, there aren’t plenty of fish in the sea and our oceans will be empty of life by 2048 unless we take action now. So what can you do to help protect and restore the oceans for generations to come? Here are five simple things that you can do at home to help save the ocean:
- Go Vegan
While many fish companies use “sustainable” labeling to attract customers, the only real sustainable and ethical choice is to leave fish in peace and go vegan. There isn’t even an agreed-upon definition of the term “sustainable” among marine conservation groups at this time. If you choose to eat seafood, follow consumer guides to make sustainable choices.
- Support Marine Protected Areas
Under 2% of the oceans are currently protected- these areas prohibit commercial fishing vessels from entering their waters. Once protected, these areas tend to recover quite quickly making MPAs an extremely viable solution. @usmarineprotectiongov on Facebook is a good resource! Oceana is another great resource- it is the largest international organization focused 100 percent on ocean conservation.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Switch to fluorescent lightbulbs, take the stairs, ride your bike to work! There are so many ways to reduce your energy consumption in everyday life. Even the smallest things make a difference!
- Skip the Single-use Plastics
While it is true that pollution from commercial fishing makes up a majority of the ocean’s garbage, plastics are still a major contributor. Even eliminating plastic straws could go a long way towards reducing ocean debris.
- Become a Responsible Traveller
Travelling is an amazing way to experience the beauty of coastal ecosystems. To become a responsible traveller, be sure to clean up after yourself when visiting beaches and natural spaces. You can also research the region’s local seafood and fishing practices to make sustainable food choices. Furthermore, many eco-tourism activities support local communities and their coastal regions.