by Jeni Bone
Helmer Rupert Murray’s fishing documentary, 'End of the Line,' took out the first Puma.Creative Impact Award in London last week - despite widespread claims the 'facts' upon which it is based have been discredited and disproven.
End of the Line
Helmer Rupert Murray’s fishing documentary, 'The End of the Line,' took out the first Puma.Creative Impact Award in London on Tuesday.
The film won a grant of €50,000 to be split between the filmmakers and their campaign drawing awareness to the devastating impact over-fishing has on the oceans and the politicians who fail to protect the world’s fish stocks.
The Puma.Creative Impact Award is a new annual award honouring the doc that makes the most significant difference in the world, with the prize to help continue the filmmakers' campaign work.
Murray said the doc 'was designed to do a job, and that was to revolutionize the way that people thought about the oceans'.
Producer George Duffield announced that, as a result of the doc, a second marine reserve had been created in the Maldives, doubling the area of the world's ocean currently under protection from 1% to 2%. The filmmakers' goal is to reach 10% in the next 10 years.
This year’s jury included H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan, helmer Morgan Spurlock, Sudanese musician Emmanuel Jal, Orlando Bagwell, director of the Ford Foundation's JustFilms initiative, and actress Thandie Newton.
In Australia, the film showed in mainstream and arthouse cinemas and earned the ire of the fishing and broader marine industry.
Keith Douglas, representing the Marine Action Group, attended a screening on the Gold Coast and contributed to a panel debating the issues that arose in the film, alongside a marine vet, Sea Shepherd campaigner and others.
According to Keith, what is absent from the debate is 'balance' and what was portrayed in the film does not have relevance in Australia.
'We have the most productive, best managed fisheries in the world,' he continued. 'This year, we have had some of the best tuna catches ever and up north the best game fishing season in living memory, the best prawn season for years. Our commercial and recreational industries are committed to sustainability, yet there is a drive to lock up huge slabs of ocean – all without peer reviewed science.'
The thesis presented as fact in the film End of the Line is misleading, said Keith.
'The scientific paper by Meyers and Worm published in 2003 that states that '90% of the ocean’s big fish are gone' has subsequently been discredited by six subsequent scientific reports. The recent segment on 60 Minutes perpetuated the same stats.'
Of more importance and urgency, according to Keith, is something that the environmentalists seem to be avoiding, water quality and pollution!
'We need to focus on water quality, greening our creek banks, a whole practical approach. As far as Marine Parks go, many fish don’t breed in the proposed marine park areas. They breed in estuaries and they are migratory. Marine parks must be subject to peer reviewed science. Dr Ben Diggles, a very well respected scientists in Brisbane, believes Marine Parks should make up no more than 10% and exist for benchmark studies.
'We all want a sustainable future, recreational and commercial fishers. Professor Ray Hilborn of Washington University has been widely quoted stating that fisheries can be managed successfully without marine protected areas.'
In NSW, there has been a torrent of submissions to the state government's controversial marine park audit reveal the breadth of division between environmentalists and the fishing industry over marine parks.
The audit is to be chaired by University of Queensland academic Professor Robert Beeton, who is expected to complete the audit by the end of the year.
The NSW Seafood Industry Council and the Sydney Fish Market both argue that fish stocks are already well managed in NSW and that restricting fishing in marine parks is not an effective way of securing fish stocks.
In its submission, the NSW Seafood Industry Council calls for the entire Marine Parks Act to be rescinded.
In its own submission, the Sydney Fish Market criticises 'irresponsible environmentalists' and the demonisation of the fishing industry by proponents of Marine Parks.
A joint submission by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the Australian Marine Conservation Society argues that commercial and recreational fishing 'poses one of the most significant threats to the marine environment'.
It also notes that in some instances recreational fishing can have a greater impact on certain fish stocks than commercial fishing, and calls for a protection target of 10 per cent of all ecosystem types.
More at endoftheline.com