Initial release: 24th March 2021
Director: Ali Tabrizi
Reviewed by: Holly Helm
Summary: The director and narrator, Ali Tabrizi, examines humanity’s impacts on the oceans and seeks to expose harmful fishing operations. Tabrizi’s passion for marine wildlife drives his ambition to hold authorities accountable as he visits organisations and charities with poignant questions some would prefer to leave unanswered. After encountering discouraging feedback and shocking statistics, Tabrizi sets out on his own to discover the truth. While the responsibility rests on the shoulders of larger companies, Tabrizi concludes the only way to help oceanic ecosystems is by leaving them alone.
“If you want to address climate change, the first thing to do is protect the ocean”ᶦ – Paul Watson
This Netflix Original documentary is the first of its’ kind to delve so deeply into troubling waters. Home to 80% of all life on earth, our oceans need protecting more than ever. But how can we do this? Seaspiracy tackles this overarching question on its quest for solutions. Looking at unethical practices from some of the most prestigious charities and food manufacturers, culpability can be found everywhere. What Seaspiracy highlights is that the more power a group or leader has, the more impactful their influence on such matters. This calls for lobbying and advocacy as a crucial tool to protect our oceans, however, the documentary emphasises that the true solution is a little closer to home than expected: reducing fish consumption.
Seaspiracy highlights some of humanities atrocities in exposing issues such as bycatch, unnecessary overfishing, and the mindless slaughter of sharks by the thousands simply for a hot bowl of shark fin soup (a delicacy with no real nutritional value). ‘Sharks only kill on average 10 people per year, people kill 11,000 to 30,000 sharks per hour.’ᶦᶦ Similarly, ‘Half of those are killed as bycatch, invisible victims of the fishing industry.’ᶦᶦᶦ Seaspiracy predicts that our oceans will be empty by 2048ᶦᵛ, imposing a sense of urgency throughout and prompting viewers to question their own contributions to climate change.
“We are at war with the oceans, and, if we win this war, we’re going to lose it all because mankind is not able to live on this planet with a dead sea”ᵛ – Cyrill Gutsch
Not only would I describe Seaspiracy as a highly educational project, but also critically challenging and visually stimulating in its use of powerful imagery. Tabrizi thoroughly breaks down the technical terminology of the fishing industry and environmental activism, making this documentary universally palatable and transparent. While certain visuals may be distressing to some viewers, the content provides a suitable and informative watch for young activists. A key point to take away from this enlightening documentary is that we can all help to protect our oceans by reducing our fish consumption and questioning the ethics of supposedly ethical charities who raise money for climate preservation and simultaneously fund unethical fishing operations, rather than blindly supporting large conglomerates without putting in the research first.
The documentary asks viewers to ponder difficult questions and provides the viewer with simple answers. Tabrizi’s contagious passion for oceanic life and preservation introduces an element of persuasion, free of pressure. Aside from being a brilliantly informative documentary, the points touched upon are relevant, stimulating, and motivational. I would highly recommend this documentary to all viewers.
ᶦ Captain Paul Watson, 40:45, Seaspiracy
ᶦᶦ Ali Tabrizi, Seaspiracy
ᶦᶦᶦ Ali Tabrizi, Seaspiracy
ᶦᵛ Ali Tabrizi, Seaspiracy
ᵛ Cyrill Gutsch, 38:05, Seaspiracy