The Reel: The Last Ocean


"You can't be a doctor of the ocean without knowing what a healthy patient looks like."

                                                                                                  -- from The Last Ocean

In restaurants around the world, consumers can find a dizzying array of seafood options, each dish tailored to tickle the taste buds of whoever is willing to spend the cash. Too often, the recipe is the same: explore and exploit. Explore new waters, exploit those fish stocks, repeat.

 

This cycle has depleted fish populations near many harbors, so commercial fishermen now go far beyond their normal fishing grounds, to the frigid waters of Antarctica’s Ross Sea. The next target species: Antarctic toothfish, a near relative of the Patagonian toothfish, marketed as Chilean sea bass.

 

 

Fisheries are in decline around the globe, and what many marine scientists say is the last intact marine ecosystem, the Ross Sea, now faces the same fate. Enforcement of fishing regulations in this remote area is incredibly difficult, expensive and dangerous.

 

 

Fishing there is dangerous too. Last year Russian fishing vessel Sparta became stuck in heavy sea ice, and when three different vessels trying to assist Sparta also became stuck in the ice, the boat’s 32 crew members had to be saved by a drop of supplies from a plane.

 

This new documentary by Peter Young will not let consumers willing to pay the price for expensive seafood, do so without counting the cost.

 

In The Last Ocean, the stunning Antarctic landscape and insights from marine scientists provide a glimpse of this pristine, abundant ecosystem on the verge of being ruined. Unless we do something.

 

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