The research for this documentary began after a chance meeting in the mid harbour in November 2012. Initially it was going to be a follow up to mp2films previous 19 minute long documentary VIRTUS. A half hour intimate overview of the river Lee was the plan. How innocent that thought was! By the end of summer 2013 we had already 5 hours of footage on a whole range of river related topics and several interviews to choose from. A year and half has passed and we are now fine tuning the RIVER RUNNER as a feature length documentary. Having a dedicated website and weekly blog is a superb platform to package those ideas and moments that would most certainly be written up in a book but will not make it into the film.
The sources of the facts and figures in this post are taken from reputable oceanographers, dedicated environmentalists, professional biologists.
The core issue is an astounding CONTRADICTION. It is a sad but common fact that the numbers of wild Atlantic salmon are at an all time low. The reasons are multifarious and complex. Humans are dessimating wild stocks of fish across the globe and simultaneously supplying 47% of our global seafood demand with Farmed Fish. In just 60 years 90% of our oceans large fish population have been brought to the brink of extinction. The three main types that are in serious danger are Tuna, Swordfish and Shark ! No wonder when you get your head around what one commercial trawler can take on board : sit back and digest this one. You could fit four full size football fields into one of those nets? Alternatively imagine 13 Jumbo Jets fitting into the same size net. That translates for the landlubber into 500 tonnes of fish in one swoop.
I have yet to establish how many of these metal monsters are hoovering up the ocean floor which is another uncomfortable aspect to this practice…the low trawling nets devastate the richly encrusted age old seabed when they trawl the bottom to get at the deep sea dwelling fish. The scientists are sending out the warning signals .This week on national daytime radio it was announced how important those deep sea dwellers are for CO2 exchange. Hold steady for the punch-line from a specialist who has dedicated her whole life to preserving our oceans for future generations. “If we continue this current practice of OVERFISHING by the year 2061 we will dessimate ALL OF OUR OCEANS FISH STOCKS. (Dr. Sylvia Earle)
Jellyfish soup will be on the menu from then on. Have you heard of Jellyfish Blooms? These creatures are simply on the increase globally as the balance between their population and that of the larger fish is now out of kilter. They both feed on the same small marine organisms. Take away the giant tuna, shark and swordfish! Enter the Jellyfish brigade! The experts compare them to cockroaches. They grow fast, will eat anything, can survive in poor quality water and reproduce faster than rabbits. I have been wondering why in the past number of years there seems to be more and more of these little jelly critters floating in on our local beaches. The Common, Barrel, Compass, Blue, Lions Mane, Mauve Stinger will all give you a nasty sting. If you come across a Portugese Man O War…BEWARE….because those boys can be FATAL.
Ever heard of long line fishing boats’ ? Every year 1.4 billion hooks are baited with freshly caught wild small fish to catch the remainder of the large fish population that somehow are managing to survive our extermination programme. Mind you our TUNA friends of late can only manage to weigh in at half their normal size due to one solitary fact: OVERFISHING.
365 days of the year we can purchase at a very affordable price a farmed salmon. The vast majority of us no longer have the pleasure of eating the wild salmon. Similar to the delicious wild sea bass, they are simply no longer on the menu. Farmed salmon come vacuum-packed, are pinkish in colour, have a slight fishy aroma and are ready for the pan.
The list of disadvantages or gray zone areas relating to salmon farming is enormous and way beyond the scope of a short blog. But I will briefly mention the titles of some of the contentious issues relating to farmed fish and wish you all BON APPETIT : Sea Lice ; Anti-biotics ; Colour dyes ; Genetically Modified Feed; Byproduct feed i.e. poultry feathers necks and intestines!
Enough already? As Mr. Sam Beckett famously once stated “I can’t go on, I must go on, I’ll go on.” The good news is that if we give the wild atlantic salmon and their extended relations half a chance they have an amazing capacity to replenish. We have the capacity to assist them or let them disappear.
For more detail on what you ingest when you eat a farmed salmon read and watch what these folks have uncovered on our behalf :
Twyla Roscovich, Canadian Film Maker & Environmentalist
John Volpe PhD., University of Victoria Environmental Studies
Alex Morton, Biologist British Colombia
Dr.Sylvia Earle, Legendary Ocean Researcher
Finally to ring out on a positive artistic note, we really love this guys graphic design work! The message speaks for itself, post it, tweet it, get it out there through the NET !!