At the moment, I spend my days watching documentaries and reading about marine environmental issues. I read about problems as well as solutions and ways that could work to maintain a healthy ocean and a sustainable fishing industry. Especially in countries like Germany, where many people are not involved in the seas in any way, they simply do not know how industrial fishing and marine debris affects the life in our oceans, but also – and mostly in a very hard way – the local fishers. Sure, there are different points of view on this problem, but nobody can ignore that our oceans are dying (though this is exactly what quite a few high fishing representatives do!). There is a lot of scientific data that the fish is disappearing! There´s big money in the business – we are talking about billions of dollars, which is one reason why this is happening.
In this movie, locals in Cape Verde (an island country in the Atlantic) are accompanied and interviewed by Zé, who had left his village in order to find a better life in Sweden. As he returns, he finds the place where he grew up, empty and devastated. Since the European and Asian fishing fleets cross the waters around the island and take out hundreds of tons of fish daily, the local fishers don´t catch enough anymore to survive.. The only possibility they have in order not to die of hunger is to sell sand and gravel. They destroy their beaches, and saltwater mixes with sweet water used to water their agricultural fields. The people know this is illegal and unhealthy for their ecosystem, but they have no choice …
Sandgrains is a public-funded movie. Great to have people out there supporting projects like this and helping to spread awareness – a key factor in conservation!
What is the price we are paying for the permanent availability of fish here in Europe? Our fleets are emptying the oceans, and locals fishing on their grounds for hundreds of years no longer know how to feed themselves and their families. And let´s not even talk about making money.
It is more than overdue that our fishing politics change and that each one of us recognizes his/her responsibility to help! We, as consumers, have the power to boycott certain products and to support others that were harvested or fished sustainability.
I highly recommend this movie to understand the effects of overfishing better! It is not a free movie, but you can watch it here for example (with English, French, German & Spanish subtitles):
Either buy buying the movie or renting it out for 48 hours. I tell you – it´s worth it! Please help and consider your consumer behaviour!
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.