Oceans, fish and The End of the Line
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Act now or it's jellyfish burgers all round
Sarah Griffiths, Low Carbon
Unless we act now, there won't be any fish in the sea by 2050. Kate Hodal talks to journalist Charles Clover and director Rupert Murray about their new film, The End of the Line, which previews on June 8 across the UK and looks at the consequences of over-fishing.
Never mind "Gone fishing", the sign will soon have to read "Gone: fish" if we continue to exploit our seas.
That is the stark message behind The End Of The Line, the world's first major movie documentary to look into the state of seas and oceans.
Our love affair with eating fish, coupled with major technological advances in the fishing industry over the past 50 years, has led to a severe decline of more than 80% of the world's fish stocks, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.
And that's just an average. Some of our favourite fish, including cod, salmon and bluefin tuna, have been overfished to near extinction.
What once seemed to be a never-ending resource has now proved to be the next victim of man's greed - so much so that we could run completely out of fish by 2048.
(8 June 2009)
Film prompts Pret a Manger to change its tuna
Abhinav Ramnarayan and Rebecca Smithers, Guardian
After watching new documentary on intensive fishing, founder says sandwich chain will switch to sustainable fish variety
Pret a Manger is to switch to a more sustainable variety of tuna in its sandwiches, the food retailer's founder said today.
Julian Metcalfe said the company would start using skipjack tuna, a more common variety of the fish, later this year.
He said he had decided on the move after watching a new documentary, The End of the Line, about intensive fishing methods employed to catch yellowfin and bluefin tuna, the types the chain currently uses.
"It's all about bycatch," Metcalfe said, referring to other sea creatures accidentally being caught in nets used for fishing.
The film, which has its premiere today, is based on a book by the journalist Charles Clover. It predicts that if global fishing methods do not change, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.
(8 June 2009)
Public support creation of marine nature reserve
Emily Beament, Press Association via UK Independent
More than four fifths of people support the introduction of a nature reserve in our seas to protect stocks of fish, according to a survey published today on World Oceans Day.
The poll came ahead of the launch of a film, The End Of The Line, which reveals the impacts of overfishing on the world's oceans.
The documentary, by journalist Charles Clover, claims that industrial fishing is emptying the seas of fish, destroying the livelihoods of poor fishermen in places such as Africa and killing wildlife accidentally caught in the process.
And as fisheries ministers are accused of failing to tackle the problems, demand for species such as blue fin tuna, including from top restaurant Nobu, is driving the species closer to the brink of extinction than the white rhino, say campaigners.
The film has been described as the equivalent of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth for fishing, and is being backed by a wide range of green groups including Greenpeace, WWF and the Wildlife Trusts, and retailers such as Waitrose.
(8 June 2009)
Film The End of the Line: Ep.1 - The Biggest Problem You've Never Heard Of (video)
The End of the Line's director, Rupert Murray, introduces the film and the issue and gives a flavour of the episodes to follow.
Menaces to oceans: CO2, plastic bags, overfishing
Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters
The world's seas are filled with too much garbage and too few fish with flimsy plastic bags and government subsidies bearing much of the blame, activists and trade officials said Monday on the first U.N. World Oceans Day.
The World Trade Organization's director-general, Pascal Lamy, used the occasion to note that some species are at risk of extinction from overfishing, and government subsidies bear some of the blame.
"Governments have contributed to this problem by providing nearly $16 billion annually in subsidies to the fisheries sector," Lamy said. "This support keeps more boats on the water and fewer fish in the sea.
He said WTO members are now negotiating to reform subsidies programs to make fishing a sustainable industry.
(8 June 2009)
Scientists: Global Warming Has Already Changed Oceans
Les Blumenthal, Mcclatchy Newspapers June 9, 2009.
In Washington state, oysters in some areas haven't reproduced for four years, and preliminary evidence suggests that the increasing acidity of the ocean could be the cause. In the Gulf of Mexico, falling oxygen levels in the water have forced shrimp to migrate elsewhere.
Though two marine-derived drugs, one for treating cancer and the other for pain control, are on the market and 25 others are under development, the fungus growing on seaweed, bacteria in deep sea mud and sea fans that could produce life-saving medicines are under assault from changing ocean conditions. ...
The hearing before the oceans subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee was expected to focus on how the degradation of the oceans was affecting marine businesses and coastal communities. Instead, much of the testimony focused on how the waters that cover 70 percent of the planet are already changing because of global warming."
(10 June 2009)