The End of the Line – The problem of overfishing

The End of the Line is a documentary like no other. It is a documentary that could help change the world for the better, I sincerely hope so as the future does not sound very promising if something is not done. I first heard about this from a tweet by Stephen Fry when it was being showed at a few cinemas. I was unable to see it then, but I’ve since bought and watched the DVD and it’s certainly opened my eyes.

The documentary is about the devastating effect of overfishing and raises the concern that if it continues at present many species of fish could be virtually extinct within my lifetime leaving the seas all but empty of fish.

The film appears to be having some impact already by bringing the issue out into the open and has raising awareness. There have been improvements in many companies policies prior to The End of the Line being released so it’s hard to know whether any of the improvements are directly attributable to the film, if nothing else it’s likely that the extra publicity has accelerated companies sustainability programmes.

Two notable things that have changed are:

Jamie Oliver has stopped using bluefin tuna and has removed any references to bluefin tuna in his books. Now some of his recipes refer to “fresh tuna, sustainably caught” [Eyewitness News]

Wagamama has stopped serving marlin[Fish 2 Fork review]

These were both highlighted in the film, the first showing a clip of Jamie Oliver cooking with bluefin tuna and the second phone calls to Wagamama asking them about why they were selling endangered species, specifically marlin.

As far as supermarkets Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have consistently been in the lead when it comes to sustainable fish [based on Greenpeace league table 2006].

I’ve noticed that Sainsbury’s has increased their labelling and a lot of their fish is sustainable including fresh fish and Sainsbury’s own brand tinned tuna including their new Be Good To Yourself tinned tuna products.

I also believe that many of the other stores are improving (Asda was mentioned in the film as a company with a plan to move to more sustainable fish), but it’s hard to know in some of the other supermarkets as the labelling of fish is still not clear.

More details on how we can help worldwide fish stocks are available from the links below.

Together we can stop this from becoming a tragedy and stop us reaching The End of the Line.