Film Sea the Truth, world premiere


Not just at the Cannes film festival there are world premieres of movies.

Today, there was one in Tuschinski theatre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

It was the film Sea the Truth; about the beauty of marine life and the many threats to it.

Sea the Truth is in English (with Dutch subtitles).

A central character in this documentary is diver, underwater photographer and conservationist Dos Winkel.

This video was filmed for the movie Sea the Truth: Barbara van Genne interviewing Dos Winkel about overfishing.

Other prominent roles are for two young Dutch female marine biologists: Marianne van Mierlo and Barbara van Genne. Ms Van Genne is the chair of PINK!; the youth branch of the Dutch Party for the Animals.

The film was made for the think tank of this party, and Party for the Animals MP Marianne Thieme and Senator Niko Koffeman contributed to it.

Before the film started, beautiful photos of fish and other marine animals by Dos Winkel were projected on the screen.

Two islands are important in the film: Newfoundland and Bonaire.

On Newfoundland, Ms Van Genne interviews an ex-fisherman from Portugal Cove coastal village. Pius Coombs started being a fisherman at 12 years of age. Then, there was small-scale, comparatively sustainable, fishing. However, since the 1960s, big trawlers came from Europe and North America. In 1992, almost all the cod for which Newfoundland is historically famous was gone, and over 40,000 fishermen lost their jobs.

Some people blame this on seals. However, the ex-fishermen, and Canadian fisheries biologist Daniel Pauly interviewed blamed it on the big trawler businesses. They overfished; they destroyed much of the ocean bottom, damaging the food chain. Many ex-cod fishermen of Newfoundland are now working in crab fishing. According to a former colleague of them, there is crab overfishing now, and the same disaster as with cod fishing may happen.

Bycatch is a terrible waste in fishing, especially big industrial trawl fishing. The film also mentioned pollution, eg, by plastic in the sea, eaten by marine animals who mistake it for jellyfish.

The film debunks human health claims about fish. Swordfish from the Indian Ocean (considered to be a sea with comparatively few pollution problems) was tested on unhealthy mercury. It turned out that the swordfish contained far more mercury than what is medically acceptable.

Fish oil businesses have extravagant claims about how healthy their product supposedly is. These are wild exaggerations. Also less than 5% of a fish consists of oil. So, over twenty fish have to die for a tiny bit of fish oil.

Bonaire island in the Caribbean, according to the film, has the best protected marine environment in the world. The movie shows beautiful footage of Bonaire coral reefs and mangroves, and fish, turtles, and other animals living there. Yet, even here, marine life is in danger. Every day, eg, thrash from elsewhere in the world beaches on Bonaire’s coast.

After the film, Marianne Thieme told about the scornful reactions after she had proposed to Parliament that the parliamentary restaurant should stop serving endangered eel. However, two years later, the restaurant did stop it.

Then, Dos Winkel called for applause for some of the people present who had worked on the film.

There was a video message by comedian Paul van Vliet, reading a song by himself about pollution of the sea.

Finally, there were snacks. Not fish snacks, but vegetarian soybean snacks tasting like fish.

Finally, a few critical remarks about this good film. The premiere is at a time when BP oil is polluting much of the Caribbean. A documentary film is not a TV newsreel. And a film of about one hour cannot show all sides of a big complex issue. So, I understand that the BP Louisiana oil scandal is not in the film. Still, the film does not mention any pollution by the oil industry, or, more widely: capitalism. Neither does it mention war and militarism, military dangers to marine life.

However, let these points not deter anyone from seeing this film, and from becoming active about the important points which it raises.

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2010) — A new, less selective approach to commercial fishing is needed to ensure the ongoing productivity of marine ecosystems and to maintain biodiversity, according to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: here.

Britons want to buy sustainable fish but labels leave us baffled: here.

Young coral ‘threatened by noise pollution’: here.

The most endangered marine turtle in the world is threatened by trawl fisheries operating on turtle feeding grounds: here.

When did humans first start eating fish? Here.

The Globosa Mangrove, Heritiera globosa, is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This species of mangrove is one of Indonesia’s many endemic species and is only found in the West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo. It is a very rare species of mangrove that has a very patchy distribution within a specific salinity range and prefers the more freshwater-dominated areas of upstream riverine habitats. It is a slow-growing species, but can reach large sizes of up to 25 metres: here.

Alternative fish feeds use less fishmeal and fish oils: here.

A BLAZING row has broken out between fisheries scientists over whether fishing fleets are depleting the world’s oceans of their large species: here.

Around 40 percent of hake is mislabeled: here.

Halifax, Nova Scotia: After decades of little hope in what was once one of the world’s major fisheries, Atlantic Cod is showing signs of recovery on the Grand Banks off the coast of Canada. But WWF is warning that fisheries managers must not rush to reopen the cod fishery that has been under moratorium since 1994: here.

New US report finds more than 20,000 marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds caught as bycatch in 2005: here.

A new investigation put in evidence the key role of cod as regulator of the whole Baltic Sea ecosystem. The study shows that when the cod population in the central Baltic increases, it spreads into larger areas and spills over into adjacent marginal systems where it usually does not occur, as for example the Gulf of Riga: here.

‘Sea the Truth’ shown on Bonaire: here.

24 thoughts on “Film Sea the Truth, world premiere

  1. Dolphin deaths prompt call for extension of net exclusion zone

    By HELEN MURDOCH – The Press

    Last updated 05:00 20/05/2010

    The deaths of four Hector’s dolphins in gill nets since last May is only the tip of the iceberg, a marine expert says.

    Otago University Associate Professor of Zoology, Liz Slooten, wants the current four-mile net-exclusion zone, which covers various sections of the South Island coastline, extended to include all known dolphin habitats.

    The Department of Conservation (DOC) released details on three dolphin deaths yesterday.

    Two occurred off Kaikoura last year, in or near an exclusion zone which allows netting over the deep inshore Kaikoura Canyon, and were witnessed by official commercial fisheries observers.

    A third death was witnessed under the observer programme, north of Timaru, in January, Slooten said.

    “Another Hector’s dolphin was found dead on a Greymouth beach on February 28 with net marks and water in its lungs,” she said. “It died in a net and was not reported, but we cannot say it if was commercial or a recreational fishing net.”

    With observers on 2 per cent to 10 per cent of commercial fishing vessels, the deaths were probably only the tip of the iceberg, she said. “We need to know how big that iceberg is.”

    The deaths also raised questions about the effectiveness of the protection programme and the need for more observers, Slooten said.

    “The current protection measures are a major improvement on what we had, but it is still a long way from a solution.”

    DOC media adviser Reuben Williams said the programme’s effectiveness was something DOC and the Ministry of Fisheries needed to consider.

    DOC planned to talk to Kaikoura’s Te Korowai Trust o Te Tai Marokura, which negotiated the netting exclusion zone around the Kaikoura Canyon, about the dolphin deaths.

    Forest & Bird also wants more protection for the dolphin.

    Hector’s dolphin, the smallest and one of the rarest dolphins in the world, is listed as an endangered species.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/3717045/Dolphin-deaths-prompt-call-for-extension-of-net-exclusion-zone

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  2. “EU Subsidises Companies Guilty of Illegal Fishing”

    By Julio Godoy

    BERLIN, May 24, 2010 (IPS) – The European Union has for years been paying subsidies to the tune of one billion euro annually to industrial fishing companies based in its member states, including companies that have been caught fishing illegally in African waters.

    “The fact that the EU pays subsidies to vessels fishing in African waters is already a problem because, by doing so, European taxpayers are exacerbating poor African people’s difficulty to sustain livelihoods,” Isabella Loevin, member of the European Parliament’s (EP) fisheries committee, told IPS.

    “But that the subsidies go to European vessels violating international law is highly embarrassing and immoral,” Loevin added.

    Fishsubsidy.org, a London-based watchdog group, compared records of 42 court convictions with data on EU fisheries subsidy payments. The study focused on two major EU fishing nations, Spain and France.

    Vessels were caught violating national or international laws on fishing in the east central Atlantic Ocean region in African waters where, according to several environmental organisations, illegal fishing is the most rampant in the world.

    One prominent beneficiary of EU subsidies is the Spanish fishing company Vidal Armadores, which received at least 2,8 million euros in financial support in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, vessels of Vidal Armadores were caught with some 24 tons of illegally fished patagonian toothfish.

    Two years later a U.S. court sentenced the company’s owner, Antonio Vidal, to a suspended sentence of four years and a fine of 400,000 dollars.

    The EU also paid substantial subsidies to the Mediterranean port of Sète, base of the French blue fin tuna (BFT) purse seiners. This French fleet is considered the largest operating in the Mediterranean Sea, including in Libyan waters. Environmental groups estimate that illegal overfishing of BFT in the Mediterranean has put the species on the brink of extinction.

    The Fishsubsidy.org study reveals that 36 law-breaking vessels received more than 13.5 million euro in EU subsidies between 1994 and 2006. Five of the vessels on the list received more than one million euro each in EU subsidies.

    The vessels’ owners have been convicted of serious infringements ranging from logbook misreporting and capturing fish below the minimum size to the use of illegal fishing gear and exceeding quotas.

    Loevin said that the EP has questioned the European Commission (EC) on its subsidy policy for fisheries. “The EC position is that the national governments are responsible to check that their fishing companies receiving subsidies do not break international law.”

    Jack Thurston, co-founder of Fishsubsidy.org, told IPS that previous studies have shown that many EU fisheries subsidies have directly contributed to the over-fishing of fish stocks. “But our study is the first one that draws the link between subsidies and illegal fishing.”

    The study gives only “a snapshot of the problem of illegal fishing and the prevalence of EU subsidies being paid to vessels that have been convicted of illegal fishing, or that have gone on to break the law after having received subsidies,” Thurston told IPS.

    Thurston said that the researchers collected the data “from government websites, press reports and court records. The prosecution information is not centralised and it has never been made public”.

    “European governments should publish comprehensive lists of convictions for illegal fishing so that we can know who is breaking the law,” he urged. “This is the only way to ensure that public money is not going to fishers who break the laws that protect our precious fisheries.”

    For Loevin there is no doubt that the criminal behaviour of some fishing companies is a sufficient reason to be excluded from European subsidisation.

    For Western Sahara, the problem extends beyond subsidies. The European Parliament’s legal department has concluded that fishing vessels operating under European flags in Western Saharan waters violate international laws.

    Under an agreement between the EU and Morocco, European vessels are allowed to fish in Western Sahara’s waters. But the EP legal service concluded in a recent study that “the Saharawi population of Western Sahara has never been consulted nor received any benefits from the exploitation of their own rich fisheries resources”.

    The United Nations (UN) classifies the Western Sahara region as a non-self-governing territory. The territory is under dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, with its Algeria-based Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic government.

    According to a UN study of 2002, any economic activities that are not in accordance with the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara would be in violation of international law.

    In their own analysis, the EP lawyers urged the EC to suspend or amend the EU-Morocco agreement to ensure that “EU-flagged vessels are excluded from the exploitation of the waters of Western Sahara”.

    The analysis by the EP legal department was originally dated Jul 2009 but it remained under wraps until recently. EU parliamentarians have complained that the EC, in addition to holding back the findings, ignored the study for it failed to even place the issue on the agenda at the most recent yearly meeting with Morocco’s authorities in early Feb 2010.

    “The EU places respect for international law at the heart of its foreign policy but has turned a blind eye in the case of Western Sahara,” Portuguese member of the EP Miguel Portas told IPS.

    “The illegal and unethical EU fishing activities in Western Sahara’s waters are nothing short of theft and constitute implicit support for what most countries worldwide regard as an illegal occupation by Morocco in Western Sahara,” Portas added.

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