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I watched Seaspiracy for the first time and it gave my brain a workout

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Original article from Kent Live

Last night I moved a pack of fishcakes from the freezer to the fridge in preparation for tonight's dinner.

Now, when I look them, a pang of guilt runs through me… maybe I shouldn't eat them after all?

That feeling is a consequence of watching Ali Tabrizi's Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy.

I'd seen people speak highly of the programme and decided to watch it myself, little did I know the brain workout I was about to participate in.

There's no denying that Seaspiracy is a striking work and one that provides a lot of lessons to learn.

From insights into the fishing industry to slavery at sea to the environmental importance of the ocean, you are never a minute away from a new nugget of information.

Early on you learn that our seas absorb four times the amount of carbon dioxide that the Amazon rainforest does and 85 per cent of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean.

Those are stratospheric numbers and had me gripped.

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As someone who worries about the environmental impact of deforestation on oxygen levels, I couldn't believe that I didn't know the water provides so much benefit in that way.

There's clearly plenty to be learnt about fishing techniques and how the industry works too.

The clips of brutal Taji dolphin killing were uncomfortable to watch.

The fact that their capture of dolphins is legitimated by intentions of putting them in captivity, when really 12 are killed for every one 'saved', was nothing short of unbelievable.

At another moment, you watch a shark's fin being dismembered to make shark fin soup – something I had no idea existed.

The thought of the dish, which has little nutritional benefit, made my stomach turn. So did the fact that one portion can cost over $100 and is eaten just as a status symbol.

Whilst I disapproved, since I would never eat shark fin soup and don't see pods of dolphins regularly, it seemed a million miles from home.

Ali Tabrizi, director of Seaspiracy, is actually a Kent local

When Ali, who is from Thanet himself, started to talk of supertrawlers and the 'bycatch' they produce Seaspiracy began to resonate more.

'Bycatch' refers to the marine life killed in excess to that which fishermen target due to industrial techniques.

The industry prefers to call it 'accidental take', but Ali is quick to point out the irony in how it can be accidental, yet understood as something that happens.

KentLive and sister site SussexLive have both reported on shocking photos of battered porpoises which have washed up on beaches in recent months.

The dead porpoise was found in Hythe

These were likely the result of these supertrawler boats which drag huge nets along the ocean floor, catching all marine life in their way.

There is something so brutal and careless about that fishing technique and the fact it's happening across the world and on our very own coast highlighted just how widespread the problem is.

Information overload

Where I struggled with Seaspiracy was in the overload of information.

Ali hops around the planet with one example after another, all laden with more statistics and more professional opinion.

There's so much to get your head around that, at times, viewers might miss the point being made.

The documentary has been criticised for its over-dramatisation too, claims which do seem believable.

Seaspiracy opens with questions over whether Ali will even survive shooting the programme and filmmakers are often seen running away from police or being chased out of shops.

Whilst it does make for an impactful film, which was no doubt the producer's goal, you can see where those accusations of melodrama come from.

Ultimately, the reason why it is so dramatic is to provoke a reaction and encourage change.

Seaspiracy is, without doubt, successful in that – it's impossible to watch and condone what is going on.

When I finished the programme, I ultimately didn't know what to think, my brain weary from its intense workout.

Now that some time has passed, I'm sure I want something to change and I'm willing to do something to help that.

The promotional poster for Seaspiracy

Ali's proposed solution was to stop eating fish altogether which seemed drastic.

It may be the most effective, but to expect nations to adopt that from the off is unrealistic.

Whether or not such a thing as 'sustainability' is achievable underpins Seaspiracy. Interviewees think yes, Ali thinks no.

I accept the 'sustainable' system we have at the moment is not sustainable at all, but I do continue to hope that somehow that can still be achieved and I'll make changes to try and see it happen.

I'll eat my fishcakes for dinner tonight but, after that, maybe I'll only eat fish once a month instead.

Original Article