Monday, April 26, 2010

The End Of the Line - Where Have All The Fish Gone

As a review blogger I get quite a bit of mail. More than 95% of it, I know about the other 5% just kind of show up. One of the things that showed up last week was this DVD called The End of The Line, a film by Rupert Murray.

The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Filmed over two years, we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. The film examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

What I Can Tell You:
My husband and I are big documentary watchers so I was excited to watch one that I had not seen yet. The END of the Line, Where Have All The Fish Gone is narrated by Ted Dansen and shows us the devastating effects "over fishing" has on our oceans. I had no idea of the declining fish population around the world. One speaker talks of how they dredge the ocean over 6 times a year and compared it to a farmer. If a farmer plowed over 6 times a year, how much crop would he actually get?

This is an eye opening movie. I was completely unaware of the how consumer consumption and corporations have aided in the decline of many fish populations and how these declines affect the health of the ocean itself. Could we possibly have an ocean without fish by 2048? Scary thought!

For more information, video and how you can take part in this conservation of sea life go to Babelgum.

Because of cost I do not eat a lot of fish. However, before you take a bite, see if the fish  planning to buy or eat is caught or farmed in a way that is sustainable.

The End of the Line is not suggesting you give up eating fish, they merely want to educate the public to the crises we are inevitably heading toward.

The Campaign from The End of the Line Website:

The End of the Line is not against fishing. It is not against eating fish. But it is for a responsible attitude towards the oceans.

The film has three messages for consumers, citizens and companies:

  • Ask before you buy: Only eat sustainable seafood.
  • Tell Politicians: Respect the science, cut the fishing fleet
  • Join the Campaign: For marine protected areas and responsible fishing
We hope that when people buy fish in a shop or in restaurant, they will ask where it comes from; whether it is from a sustainable source, whether it is an endangered or over-exploited species.

There are useful guides to what fish you can buy with a (fairly) clear conscience.  In the UK one is produced by the Marine Conservation Society. You can find the guide on their website.

In the USA, the Monterey Bay Aquarium issues one. You can click through from here.

And the Marine Stewardship Council runs a certification scheme for fish produced according to principles of sustainability, which you can find out about on the MSC website

But we also want people to put pressure on politicians to listen to the scientists and act upon their recommendations. Write to your representative. Sign up to our Pledges.

And, finally, join the campaign to make more of the oceans protected areas, where industrial fishing is not allowed and where fish stocks can replenish themselves.

At the moment only 3 per cent of the world's oceans are marine protected areas.

You can learn more about why they should be increased and those who are campaigning for them, on the websites on our Organisations page.


  1. I had no idea sushi and the like could cause such a problem. I thought the main concern with the ocean was pollution.

  2. Anonymous6:19 PM

    is so sad to see the decline of fish in the oceans. Fish is like a major source of nutrient to so many people.

  3. I just can't believe that!! You know no one realizes things like this until it's too late.

  4. It's amazing that there is so much you have to think about that is going on all over the world. I had no idea how over-fished some of these species were and it is such an important source of food for so many people.
    Thanks for all the great information.


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