‘Seaspiracy’ explores the damages of overfishing

Netflix documentary encourages environmentalism


Fair use from Netflix.

Ben Sanford

When “Seaspiracy” showed up on my home page on Netflix, the trailer instantly intrigued me. After watching the documentary in its entirety twice, the importance of the film speaks for itself.

The documentary has a plotline of its own, as filmmaker Ali Tabrizi’s thesis evolved over the course of the filming. Tabrizi started his journey with the goal of shedding light on the unethical and usually illegal industry of whaling. But as he continued filming, his goal shifted to the environmental and humanitarian issues surrounding the fishing industry, and how that contributes to the majority of pollution in the ocean, as well as poverty in many countries, slavery and numerous other disgusting economic issues.

The documentary’s reliance on facts and statistics kept me engaged throughout its entire runtime. The film drives home its message with statistics, like how 46% of the plastic pollution in the Pacific Garbage Patch are from fishing lines and other tools used by the fishing industry. Along with that, the film sheds light on the hypocrisy and unethical information spread by even the most well-known environmentally focused organizations.

“Seaspiracy” not only discusses the environmental issues with overfishing, but also how it affects some of the most vulnerable people on Earth. For example, the film discusses how the fishing industry exploits the impoverished people in West Africa by taking all the fish out of the waters for commercial use, leaving no food for the people of West Africa to consume. This leads not only to starvation in these areas, but also deaths from local fishermen going further out to sea in search of a food source.

My only issue with the documentary is the overwhelming bias the filmmaker exhibits. In many of his interviews, he frames his questions and his responses as a way to trick the interviewee into giving him the answer he wants. Although some of the people he interviewed definitely tried to evade his questions, some people seemed to want to give thoughtful answers, but didn’t have the time or opportunity to respond in a nuanced way. 

“Seaspiracy” highlights the issues in the fishing industry in a compelling way, reaching an audience that would likely never have learned this information. This is a documentary everyone should watch if they are looking to be more environmentally friendly.

“Seaspiracy”: ★★★★☆