Sea the Truth is based on numerous scientific publications that examine the problems of seas and oceans. Below follows an overview of the themes addressed in the film and a brief explanation.
Deep trouble: Whale mortality caused by overfishing
According to a report of the New Zealand news channel 3News, sea mammals, among which are whales, are dying of malnutrition. The makers claim that this is caused by overfishing. Watch the report here:
Fishing policy and quota
Fishing policy around the world is destructive. Recommendations from scientists on quotas are ignored by policy makers, wealthy countries plunder the fishing territories of poor countries and bottom trawlers sow destruction all over the seafloor with their dragnets. In Europe, 88% of fish stocks have been overharvested, such as the blue fin tuna which sadly is threatened with extinction.
Effects of fishing on marine ecosystems
In addition to the effect on the fish stocks, fishing also affects all other organisms in the same habitat or ecosystem. Whether the fish being harvested are predatory or prey, the balance of the ecosystem is disrupted and this can have serious consequences. The degree of disruption strongly depends on the fishing method employed.
The term bycatch has come to be used to refer to fish caught unintentionally when fishermen fish for commercial fish. These kinds of fish are not interesting to sell and as a consequence they are thrown back into the ocean either dead or mutilated. The average bycatch worldwide is about 40.4% of the total amount of fish being caught. This means that 3 kilos of consumed fish brings about 2 kilos of bycatch. In total, 37 billion kilos of fish per year is wasted bycatch.
People once thought that fish could not feel anything when they are caught. This idea was probably motivated because fish are cold blooded; this is in contrast with humans who are warm blooded. However, the ability to feel pain does not have anything to do with body temperature. From research studying the behavior of fish, as well as the study of anatomy and physiology, it turns out that fish have feelings and are in fact able to feel pain. This means that the current methods to catch and kill fish are in truth a torture for fish, moreover captured fish die of suffocation: a process that can take up to several minutes or hours.
The plastic soup
Between Hawaii and San Francisco floats an enormous amount of rubbish — a plastic soup with a surface area of 8.6 million square kilometres. To compare: This is 33 times greater than the surface area of the Netherlands (41,528 km2). This plastic soup was ‘discovered’ by Charles Moore when he sailed through this area with his boat and found himself surrounded day in day out by plastic waste. He later returned with scientific equipment to determine the soup’s total size. The plastic soup is a huge threat to a number of marine animals and mammals.
Toxins in fish
We’re told we should eat fish twice a week as it is packed with nutrition. These healthy nutrients are however easily obtained from other food sources, whereas fish may also contain large amounts of toxins. Mercury and dioxins ‘enjoy’ the status of most researched toxins in fish.