By now you've definitely heard that plastic straws are killing sea turtles. They get stuck in their nose, throats, and stomach, and often times lead to their death.
This isn't false, it absolutely does happen and it's terrible, but the fact is only 0.03% of all ocean plastic is made up of plastic straws. The major contributor? Fishing nets from offshore fishing operations such as wild caught fisheries and ocean trawlers make up 46% of the garbage floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The health of our oceans certainly strikes close to home for us because we pride ourselves on sourcing our makhana straight from the pond using only clean ingredients. Our partners that we work with use traditional harvesting methods that guarantee that the makhana you crunch on are sustainable for both the pond that they grew from as well as for the planet we love. This is why the cleanliness of our oceans is something that we hold dear. We have always loved our ponds and Seaspiracy helped reassure us that we made the right choice by valuing our tiny little ecosystem being a sustainable snacking option.
The Netflix documentary that released on March 24, 2021 has been going viral because of great investigative work by Lucy and Ali Tabrizi and Kit Anderson. In the film you are taken through the hidden secrets of the seafood industry.
Viewers are given a first hand look at how over-fishing has lead to:
- A rise in the earths temperature due to the inability of oceans to cool themselves down, leading to an overall warmer atmosphere,
- Destruction of coral reefs due to ocean trawlers,
- Inability for indigenous coastal and fishing communities to survive,
- A reduction in the ocean's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (which we desperately need to offset a climate crisis),
- 45% of sea life caught being thrown back into the ocean as dead waste,
- Slavery and forced labour run rampant in the fishing industry,
- How the circle of life is being damaged by human exploitation of the oceans.
Turns out that blue check we see everywhere that tells us our seafood is "sustainable", is actually bogus. I'd kind of always suspected the Marine Stewardship Council was just a front, but had no proof until I saw the footage first hand. The research and evidence are well gathered and presented.
You see shocking first hand interviews with Captains describing how easily they sell their catch as "sustainable" through MSC though it was unsustainably caught with giant fishing trawl nets. These fishing trawls and nets gather up anything and everything in their way, and more than half of the catch die and their carcasses are thrown back into the ocean.
Seafood, often touted as a healthier and leaner alternative to meat, actually has a dirty secret of its own. We're told fish is the best source of omega 3 - but fact check - it's actually the algae eaten by fish that generate the omega 3! There are several plant based options to get omega-3 acids like walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, edamame, and kidney beans (to name a few!).
After a gut-wrenching hour and a half learning fact after fact about how so many current challenges in the face of an impending global climate catastrophe are attributed to over-fishing, I'm convinced to stop eating seafood. Me. I never thought I would say these words. And I'm sure going to miss exquisite sushi in Tokyo or fish and chips in London, but I owe my future Earth this. And so do you.
It's not all doom and gloom over the the state that our world is in though. I want to remind you that you have the power to change and make a difference in whatever small way you might. Maybe giving up sushi isn't your thing, but perhaps you are a good writer who would be willing to draft up influential pieces to be submitted to your local fishing regulating government body? Or perhaps you have a couple of fisherman friends that you can get together, who know the fishing industry well enough to suggest changes that benefit both the industry and the consumer? Or maybe you just end up hosting these meetings at your place and provide the snacks? It would be a start to introduce change, am I right?
There's always a way to make a difference and the important thing to keep in mind with addressing these kinds of social issues is that everyone who is willing, has to be on board to contribute in whatever way they can.
Don't believe me? Check out Seaspiracy on Netflix.
Share this post and comment below on what changes you are willing to make to help clean up the oceans and improve fishing methods. If anything, I would be honoured to start a real conversation this Earth Day about how we can change for the better.