The End Of The Line

The End Of The Line


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Based on the book by The Daily Telegraph’s Environmental Editor, Charles Clover, The End of the Line takes a look at the concept that within 50 years our oceans will be devoid of our tasty Piscean friends. The End Of The Line champions the fish in our oceans, a resource we may have eaten to extinction by 2048.

It seems hard to fathom considering the morsels of fish contained within the average serving, but it is the astonishing increase in the popularity of sushi in the Western world that has lead to the strip-mining of fish populations. Over the past 50 years the world consumption of tuna has increased 0.4 million tones to more than four million tonnes, pushing the likes of the blue-fin tuna to destruction.

Copy picture

Typical of big business strategies of the past 10 years is a lack of any degree of future planning – they’d rather grab whatever profits are to be made right now and to heck with tomorrow. Japanese fishing fleets such as those operated by Mitsubishi are taking far more fish than allowed by international quota. Worse still, when one considers these quotas are the result of compromise on the part of governments yielding to nationalist and lobbyist group interests and are already not low enough to allow the fish stock to increase naturally.

Monitoring the heath of our seas has been complicated by the likes of the Chinese Government essentially lying about the size of catches to appease their own strange bureaucracies and yet amid the depressing news not all of Big Business can be vilified, Wal-Mart and Bird's Eye are to be praised for going above and beyond as they only fish 'sustainable sources'.

Clover and Ruper Murray’s documentary makes its case clinically and without having too many shots of the usual bloody carnage associated with fishing, for my money the strongest imagery in the film is the aftermath of bottom trawling that leaves swathes of simply nothing in the ocean.

In another twist, for the lobster and jellyfish, life is good as the waters have been denuded of their predators and soon they will be all we have left. From one’s own perspective it does make one feel guilty to remember the days when the village fishmonger had half the cast of Moby Dick on ice to the pathetic sprats that line the supermarket counter today or when the Cod with your chips did not arrive in neat geometric shapes.

One cannot come away from this film without thinking twice about that next order for Sashimi, but one suspects it would take an outbreak of Fish Flu to change the eating habits of the planet.

Reviewed on: 22 May 2009
Share this with others on...
The devastating effect global overfishing is having on fish stocks and the health of our oceans.
Amazon link

Director: Rupert Murray

Year: 2008

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK


Sundance 2009

Search database:

Related Articles:

Sundance Diary: Day Five

If you like this, try:

The Age Of Stupid
The Blue Toon
The Cove