Wednesday, 19 August 2009

more than laws and patrol boats

Two almost incidental remarks stayed with me after seeing The End of the Line last night. The documentary charts the crazy path we've taken since the 1950s with the large-scale industrialisation of fishing. Plenty of gloomy graphs back up the science. Many fish are on the verge of extinction.

At one moment in the film Charles Clover, author of the book on which the movie is based, discusses the oceans and finite resources and says what is needed is 'a new philosophy'. Our idea of oceans needs to be rethought.

In the Q&A afterwards, the movie's producer Claire Lewis described the importance of bluefin tuna to the Japanse in cultural terms. She said it was easy for us to underestimate the part that bluefin tuna plays in Japanese culture.

Yes, overfishing is often illegal, and we need tough laws and more patrol boats. But it's also cultural and philosophical, and that's the area, traditionally, where writers and artists have had influence.

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