commercial fishing boat colored with fishing nets on both sides and fish and plant life below the boat

Stop Eating Fish

Diamond Marie Pedroza
Web Content Contributor

Last month, I saw one of Netflix’s recent documentary releases, “Seaspiracy.” The film follows Ali Trabizi, a man who investigates atrocities occurring globally in marine life, and what the effects of these atrocities are and will be in the future.

The plastic waste in our “oceans have turned [them] into a toxic plastic soup,” according to Trabizi. The high quantity of fishing gear and fishing net plastic is overlooked by the popularity of campaigns to end the use of plastic straws, which according to Trabizi only accounts for 0.03% of plastics in oceans.

One of the main benefits humans receive from the ocean is oxygen. The U.S. National Ocean Service says, “scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean.”

Overfishing and bad fishing practices have done extensive damage to the underwater ecosystems that produce oxygen. Humans need the oxygen that marine plants produce, and marine plants need fish, which are slowly going extinct.

Places like Taiji, Japan, have been brutally killing and capturing dolphins for amusement parks and aquariums worldwide. Killing dolphins is no longer necessary since they are not commonly sought after for their meat anymore. Now, fishermen kill them for pest control and to cover up overfishing done by humans.

If not specifically hunted, dolphins, whales, and other marine life are also killed by what is called, bycatch. Bycatch happens when an animal is unintentionally caught in a fisherman’s rope. Dolphins are killed in large numbers off the coast of France by bycatch.

The film also highlights why there really isn’t a sustainable form of fishing. The labels that say things like “dolphin-safe tuna” can’t be 100% guaranteed to be dolphin safe. This is because dolphins can always be caught in bycatch, or because observers, who sign off on overseeing the process, can be bribed to say they didn’t see any dolphins being killed.

Of the many types of fishing practices, some contribute to seafloor deforestation, and others specifically target sharks. Sharks help keep ecosystems alive and are killed in Asia for their fins.

Illegal fishing not only includes overfishing, but it also contributes to directly harming communities that depend on fish for their main source of food. “Seaspiracy” pointed out that the European Union takes fish from African coastal communities that depend on fish to survive.

One of the most horrific aspects of the fishing industry has to do with fishing slavery. In places, like Thailand, there is an industry of forced servitude on fishing ships. Men are enslaved for many years, not paid, abused, and sometimes killed to help catch fish.

The Sea Sheperd Conservation Society is a group that saves sea life and helps to stop illegal fishing and other illegal practices that occur in the water. They work with law enforcement on their missions to target different illegal fishing operations.

quote from Trabizi “if the ocean dies….so do we” in distorted green lettering on blue background

Before watching “Seaspiracy,” I was mostly a vegetarian. I did eat fish, but only a couple of times a year. However, I have now gone back to a strict vegetarian diet.

People have brought up certain inaccuracies surrounding claims the film makes, but everyone agrees that Earth’s oceans are in danger. The current state of the fish humans consume is full of microplastics and other contaminants. It is also marked with many other dark truths.

Though it is not feasible to tell everyone to stop eating fish, especially communities around the world that solely rely on fish, it is possible to tell people to stop that can stop. So, stop eating fish and taking fish oil. Instead, take algae oil.

Watch the trailer for “Seaspiracy”:

You can currently view “Seaspiracy” on Netflix. To learn more about the documentary, you can visit the “Seaspiracy” website here.

Featured image by Diamond Marie Pedroza

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