2008 Certificate: pg


The industrial scale of overfishing in the world's oceans could mean that stocks will run out by 2048. Director Rupert Murray's sober verdict on the crisis below the high seas is scaled up by individual stories of man's greed from the Straits of Gibraltar to Senegal. Narrated by Ted Danson, it's based on Daily Telegraph writer Charles Clover's cautionary book and features damning interviews with players ranging from zealous fishermen to fisheries enforcement officials.


  • Rupert Murray


  • Documentary


Director Rupert Murray's cautionary environmental tale of massive global overfishing has certainly made a big splash.

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger changed its stance, banning yellowfish tuna, Marks & Spencer became the first supermarket chain to insist on pole-and-line caught fish and Sainsbury's, Morrison's and Waitrose have all adopted a fish-friendlier policy.

After watching this salty tale of industrial-scale greed, the scales fall from your eyes and you can see why.

We once laboured under the reassuring assumption that the world's oceans teemed with an endless supply of fish ready to be whisked from the trawler to harbour to supermarket.

The experience of the Newfoundland cod stocks in the early 1990s changed all that. Once a fish so common that local lore claimed you could walk across the sea on the backs of cod, massive overfishing meant that sustainable stocks basically ran out.

Meanwhile, over in Tokyo, giant fishing fleets of huge super-trawlers run by the car manufacturer Mitsubishi have relentlessly made their way through bluefish tuna shoals to satisfy the Japanese lust for tuna.

Narrated by Ted Danson, this documentary warning carefully balances measured analysis - from respected university researchers - against the more gung-ho exploits of tuna fisherman turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo.

But, unlike other movie polemics with a downbeat environmental tone, Murray casts off with a more upbeat message.

World fish stocks can be saved - if we cut back on fishing fleets, expand the global network of marine reserves and buy only sustainably caught fish.

Frying tonight? No, thought not.