Groups point to ‘inaccuracies’ in film and reject allegations of animal welfare abuse
Seaspiracy, a documentary exposing the impact of pollution and over-fishing on marine life released on Netflix this week, has drawn criticism from marine organisations and experts all over the world.
But some scientists and marine conservation groups have pointed out that the documentary contains “inaccuracies” and accused it of being “misleading”.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which assesses and grants certification to sustainable fisheries, responded to claims in the documentary that alleged sustainable fishing is not possible.
“This is wrong. One of the amazing things about our oceans is that fish stocks can recover and replenish if they are managed carefully for the long-term,” said the council.
“Examples of there this has happened and stocks have come back from the brink include the Patagonian tooth fish in the Southern Oceans or the recovery of Namibian hake, after years of overfishing by foreign fleets, of the increase in some of our major tuna stocks globally.
The group also responded to allegation that MSC certification is “not credible”, saying the process is “independent of us and carried out by expert assessment bodies” and can be viewed online at Track a Fishery.
Mr Tabrizi took secret footage on a salmon farm in Loch Linnhe alongside anti-fish farming activist Don Staniford, where they find a tanker filled with dead fish that Mr Staniford described as evidence of welfare abuse.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said: “While this film raises some very important issues, the allegations made against salmon farming in Scotland are wrong, misleading and inaccurate.
“Contrary to their claim, the filmmakers have no reached out to, or actively engaged with, our sector. Aquaculture is a key part of the answer, not the problem, with regards to concerns over wild fish stocks.”
Some experts said that while Seaspiracy carries an important message, it is lost amid “staged” scenes and out-of-context interviews.
Bryce Stewart, marine ecologist and fisheries biologist who lectures at the University of York, said in a Twitter thread: “Does [Seaspiracy] highlight a number of shocking and important issues? Absolutely. But is it misleading at the same time? Yes, from the first few minutes onwards.
“It regularly exaggerates and makes links where there aren’t any. Many of the scenes were clearly staged and I know at least one of the interviewees was taken out of context.
“This is the worst kind of journalism. People will either believe it and completely overreact, or find it so easy to discredit some of the statements that the real issues get downgraded or disbelieved. In that way I feel this film does more harm than good.
“On the flip side, it was good to highlight misconceptions about issues like the threat of plastic straws relative to many other factors. But where was climate change? I must have blinked and missed that. Please can we see a much more scientific and balanced film next time.”