Individual Action is Key to Protecting the World's Oceans

The first major documentary film about overfishing “The End of the Line” is premiered today, and comes recommended as essential viewing by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Aptly launched on World Oceans Day, the film depicts the effects of our global love affair with seafood, and highlights the urgent need for action on a global scale.  

A key message from the film is that actions individuals can take will help to bring about change. The film promotes the need for consumers to buy sustainable seafood, and showcases the benefits of marine reserves. MCS has already enabled UK consumers to choose sustainable seafood, with advice through its Pocket Good Fish Guide (which is featured in the film). MCS is also calling for Marine Reserves to be set up to cover 30% of every UK marine habitat, to help recover our exhausted seas – a stance supported by over 400,000 UK voters.

Based on the book of the same name by Charles Clover, “The End of the Line” film paints a bleak picture of the impacts of fishing on marine life, the plight of species such as bluefin tuna, and the profound implications of a future world with no fish. Close to home, 88% of EU stocks are overfished, and according to UK Government figures, only eight stocks out of a total of 47 around the British Isles area were known to be in a healthy state in 2008. Action is needed now.

MCS promotes individual action in a number of effective ways. Consumers do have the power to demand sustainable seafood, mobilised by MCS advice, and now make a big difference to the impacts of fishing and fish farming on fish stocks and the marine environment; go to www.fishonline.org for more information.  

The huge support for the MCS marine reserves campaign has shown how much the general public wants better protection for the sea, since marine reserves cover only 0.0008% of the entire UK sea area,  MCS is working with the Co-operative group to call for a network of marine reserves that covers not less than 30% of UK waters. Chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Thomas Aikens, the world’s biggest dive club, the British Sub Aqua Club and retail brands such as Aigle have signed up to this position. The Economist magazine and the United Nations have also called for a much larger network of marine reserves in order to recover fish stocks. Go to www.marinereservesnow.org.uk to support this call for marine reserves.

“The more people see this film, the better” says Dr Simon Brockington, MCS Director. “In the UK the fisheries industry has taken big steps towards improving sustainability. However there is still more to be done, and everyone has a part to play – especially the seafood consumer”.

“We now urgently need to safeguard our special places – protection of our seas and the wonderful life they support does go hand in hand with better stewardship of its resources. Our seas have taken a battering over the last century, but they may be amazingly forgiving” continues Dr Brockington. “By offering much needed protection to important areas of our seas now, we could still ensure a diverse and productive future”.