Seaspiracy: A Review
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Life on the Kenya coast as a vegan means that I’m eating gooood. There's no shortage of amazing fresh local fruits and veg - from coconuts to amaranth to pineapples to jackfruits - and I'd say I'm eating some of the best food I have in my life. I'm also watching a crisis unfold, the same crisis unfolding near oceans across the world - there are fewer fish and less biodiversity in these waters than in years past, something the local fishermen tell me constantly when I speak with them on my walks along the coral reef. At the same time, a major fishing port is under construction in Shimoni, near the Kenya-Tanzania border. I’m seriously concerned about the impact of industrial fishing practices on these waters.
Seaspiracy (2020, available on Netflix) opened my eyes to just how much havoc the fishing industry is causing to the world. Marine life is declining due to industrial fishing practices that are outlined in detail in the movie. There are essentially no laws in the open ocean, which means that these industrial fishing ships are dumping literal metric tons of plastic fishing waste like nets into the oceans every year. This is having horrific impacts including a buildup of plastic nicknamed “the Pacific Garbage Patch,” a region where almost half of the plastic floating here is discarded from the fishing industry. Plastic pollution is, of course, only part of the problem.
As a vegan, seeing the atrocities committed by large fishing operations is heartbreaking. I sailed for over 20 hours up the Kenya coast last year, and at one point dolphins joined us, swimming alongside the boat for half an hour. It was a beautiful experience that made me cry tears of joy, affirming to me just how sentient these beings were. I felt their energy as they swam with us. In Seaspiracy, the directors show that when it comes to industrial fishing, the consumer is always paying a hidden price: dolphins, sharks, and other large marine animals are caught and killed as “bycatch” and their lives are the unseen price of a sushi roll or salmon fillet. I fear that, with the construction of the new fishing ports all along the East African coastline, those same dolphins I swam with might be the “bycatch” to someone else’s lunch. That makes my heart break as if the loss of the fish life wasn’t enough.
The documentary Seaspiracy was an amazing addition to the repertoire of educational films. These types of movies were part of the catalyst to my vegan journey, and I do not doubt that it, alongside the many other documentaries, will inspire others to go vegan as well. Many people ask me, “You’re vegan… you don’t even eat fish?” As if there is something inherently less cruel, less environmentally devastating, or less harmful about eating seafood. After watching Seaspiracy, I’m assured that it is every bit, if not more, harmful to eat seafood as it is to consume any animal products. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, please check it out and let us know what you think!