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End of the Line Poster

ISSUE 10 ARCHIVE - FILM REVIEW: END OF THE LINE

Charlotte Wilson

The End of the Line is a documentary film based on the revolutionary book, of the same name, by former Daily Telegraph environment journalist, Charles Clover. This film exposes the reckless destruction of fish stocks and the ongoing rape of the world's seas and oceans by a vast industrial fishing industry. The film opens with the statement that technologically advanced fishing as it has evolved today is "the most efficient predator our seas has ever seen" before revealing to the audience how the world could be completely deprived of fish by 2048 if the situation is left to continue.

Clover sets the scene by asking the viewer what would happen if a field were to be ploughed seven times in one year, the answer is obviously an ominous one and Charles goes on to state that this is exactly what is happening to our seabeds annually. Stunning pictures of underwater life are interspersed with those of huge industrial-scale ocean factory trawlers that are ravaging the seas with big trawl nets. These nets are big enough to house thirteen jumbo jets and they completely devastate the ocean floor, ripping up everything in their path. Other frightening facts include the claim that the global long-lining industry "sets 1.4 billion hooks per year; if you wrapped the lines used around the earth, they could wrap around five hundred and fifty times" and that 50% of the cod caught in the North Sea is illegally done so, inferring that every other fish on your plate is stolen; "stolen from you."
London School Of Diving
Tuna This film is not however all doom and gloom. Eating fish is good for us and no one is suggesting that we stop doing it, only that we catch it in a way that does not devastate the sea. Man has hunted the sea for fish since life began but up until the 1950s the corporeal limitations of boats and elements restricted fishermen from inflicting the type of damage that they are capable of today. An additional dimension to the argument is that West African fishing communities are being forced from the water by the powerful developed fishing fleets of Europe. Underdeveloped countries, such as Senegal, trade fishing rights for quick cash to the more developed powers of Russia and Asia whose fishing fleets then avariciously scoop the fish from the Pacific. Therefore these West African fishermen who learnt their trade as part of an ingrained culture and tradition in their society are forced to consider moving away from their families to Europe to find work. But as one West African scientist stipulates in the film "the Europeans like our fish but they do not like our people." The answer it seems is smaller fishing fleets, local controls, and extensive no-catch zones which need to be strictly enforced before areas collapse. Protection has been initiated in the north Atlantic and parts of the South Pacific, notably Alaska, and recovery of stock has proved to be remarkably quick, however it is the European fishing industry that needs to change or else soon there will be no fish to harvest. Clover and his team of amiable experts assert that if the fishing industry is not regulated then the world will be out of fish by 2048 which would result in the starvation of 1.2 billion people who rely on fish in their daily diet. This startling fact prompts us to ask ourselves the question, where does our fish come from? Is it caught legally and is it sustainably sourced? To strive for change Clover encourages us to ask these questions when buying our fish. Change needs to come from all areas, not just one. If consumers start to demand sustainable sources for their fish and if fishing boat numbers can be slashed and more marine reservations imposed to allow wildlife to re-populate then the situation may be salvageable. The terrifying fact however is that it is nearly too late.
Nautilus Lifeline
Fishing Celebrity restaurant Nobu, despite Clover's constant lobbying, is still serving the greatly endangered bluefin tuna on their menu. Bluefin tuna is currently the most sought after and expensive tuna fish but unfortunately relentless over fishing, particularly by technology conglomerate Mitsubishi, despite serious warning from the EU Fisheries Commission, means that the bluefin tuna is likely to be exterminated if the situation continues. They have, however, conceded to include the message "bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species. Please ask your server for an alternative" which would be highly amusing if it weren't such a serious issue. Nevertheless consumer attitudes do appear to be changing, Jamie Oliver upon learning of the situation removed bluefin tuna references from all of his cook books and Wagamama restaurants removed another endangered species (marlin) from their menu. Mr Clover's passion and dedication to the cause which he has been tirelessly investigating for twenty years is inspiring and one can only hope that this problem receives the publicity it needs to promote imminent change.
O'Three

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