C’est une belle aventure qui continue : le film documentaire The End of the Line – l’océan en voie d’épuisement sort en DVD ce 18 juin en France, grâce à l’implication du distributeur Lug Cinéma, de l’actrice Mélanie Laurent (qui assure la narration du film) et de la fondation Blue épaulée par la Fondation Akuo.
Le film suit le parcours de Charles Clover, célèbre éditorialiste anglais, de Roberto Mielgo, pêcheur de thon reconverti dans la lutte pour la préservation des espèces, de Daniel Pauly, spécialiste mondial en recherche halieutique et de nombreux autres intervenants pour dresser un portrait effarant d’un monde qui consomme plus que la Terre n’arrive à produire. Le gouffre sans fin qui voit les espèces disparaitre peu à peu, et dont les conséquences socio-économiques sont encore imprévisibles, ne pourra être comblé qu’à partir de décisions politiques et d’un changement de comportement des consommateurs.
Depuis le lancement de la campagne de presse, les journaux parlent de plus en plus du filmou du problème de la surpêche ; en pleine campagne électorale, le film a réussi un de ses objectifs : mettre en lumière une problématique souvent ignorée du grand public français.
La France participe actuellement aux négociations européennes concernant la réforme de la Politique commune des pêches. Elle ne se place actuellement pas parmi les pays les plus progressistes en cette matière, et cela ne changera que grâce à la pression des électeurs, et des consommateurs.
C’est donc maintenant à vous de prendre la campagne pour le futur des océans en main
Francois Hollande, the newly elected president of France, has been warned that he and his government must show “political courage” in their approach to protecting the seas.
The new government has still to announce its position on the proposed reforms of Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) but it was issued a clear challenge by award-winning French actress Melanie Laurent that change and action are needed.
Ms Laurent provides the voice-over for the French version of The End of the Line and in a message read out at a preview screening of the film in Paris she expressed a hope that the practices and policies that have enabled widespread overfishing to take place around Europe will be ended.
“This film is the most important of your life,” she said. “I hope it will lead you to change your habits. It takes political courage to take the necessary decisions. Acting is the only solution.”
Actress Melanie Laurent is providing the voice-over for the French version of the film
Following the special screening at the Lincoln cinema in Paris, members of the invited audience took part in a debate on how fisheries are managed and what needs to be done, including reform ofthe CFP.
Francois Chartier, an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, said: “The new government will be judged on its ambition, yet it is in terms of its positions on fundamental issues like the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that this ambition will be evaluated.” He was especially concerned that M Hollande and his government listen to the scientists on what actions are needed to protect marine stocks rather than vested interests.
“Each point of the CFP must be assessed in line with scientific predictions and the needs of the natural world, and not just in response to the lobbying of the fishing industry.”
Ghislain Ghomart, of the Grenelle Environment forum, backed calls for more pressure to be put on the French government to accept reform of the CFP. He was especially concerned that politicians put an end to fishing subsidies and deep sea fishing where slow-growing stocks such as orange roughy have been devastated. He also advocated the creation of marine reserves as a means of protecting fish and other marine wildlife. Charles Clover, author of the book behind the film, called on consumers to change their seafood eating habits to encourage the sale of sustainably sourced species in restaurants and shops. By doing so, he said, consumers would force the fishing industry to fish more sustainably. He said: “Consumption habits can be altered and therefore the fishing industry will be forced to respond by managing fisheries more sustainably. It is up to us, the consumers, to demand that our fish comes from sustainable fisheries.”
Speaking at the event, he announced that more than 70 of the UK and Europe’s top chefs, including several with Michelin stars, have signed up to a series of demands organised by Fish2fork - a legacy project of TEOTL - that Europe’s political leaders push through radical reforms of the CFP.
Among the demands are that discards are halted, quotas are based on scientific assessments of what fish stocks can stand rather than what the fishing lobby can squeeze out of politicians, better labelling is introduced, and that fisheries be managed sustainably.
Chefs who have signed up to the demands include Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, who organised the Fish Fight campaign against discards, and Jamie Oliver.
The French version of The End of the Line will be released on June 6 in time for World Oceans Day and on DVD on June 18.
The UK’s first online seafood restaurant guide – www.fish2fork.com – is launched today.
Fish2fork is the UK's first online seafood restaurant guide
The interactive guide aims to rate restaurants not just on the usual criteria of how good their seafood is but, perhaps more importantly, on what impact its capture has on our oceans and marine life.
Visitors to the site will find information about seafood restaurants across the UK and will be encouraged to ask questions about the fish they are offered when they dine out.
They can then easily upload their own view of the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability onto the website and help give it a simple rating score - blue fish for good and red fish for bad – on a sliding scale.
Fish2fork.com, run by the same people who produced The End of the Line, has reviewed and rated more than 100 restaurants initially but is relying on diners to help the website grow into an authoritative reference guide.
Among those who scored bottom in the guide, denoted by five red fish skeletons, included J Sheekey, the restaurant owned by the company that also owns the Ivy and the Caprice, and Nobu, the Japanese fusion chain. Rick Stein, the TV chef, rated half a red fish skeleton, which indicated he served several “fish to avoid.”
The Loch Fyne chain and the Michelin-starred Hibiscus in London’s West End scored joint highest with three blue fish.
The website’s aim is not to persuade people to stop eating fish – quite the contrary – it wants everybody to continue enjoying seafood. But the world’s fish stocks are under pressure like never before and if future generations are to share the same privilege, old habits have to change.
As fish2fork.com editor Charles Clover, revealed in his book on which The End of the Line film was based, as many as 80 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are fully or over-exploited and some fish species, such as the bluefin tuna or the beluga sturgeon, are now listed as critically endangered.
The cavalier attitude to our oceans and the seafood they contain has to change if the appalling prospect of a world without fish is to be avoided. And diners, by making the right choices about the fish they eat, have a powerful economic weapon they can use in bringing about that all-important change.
Fish2fork.com has been set up specifically to help diners make informed decisions before they visit a seafood restaurant on which strive to provide the most sustainable fish to eat and which serve mostly fish to avoid.
Using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) list of species to avoid, the website earlier this summer benchmarked the menus of more than 100 restaurants. They were then contacted and asked to complete a questionnaire so that a rating could be given.
The questions were designed to assess a restaurant’s sourcing policy, for instance, whether it offered wild or farmed fish, whether its shellfish were dredged or whether it offered species of fish which were either endangered or under threat because of over-fishing.
Where a restaurant declined or was unable to complete the questionnaire it was filled in by fish2fork.com staff using its online menu as a source of information.
The survey produced some startling results:
Almost 90 per cent of restaurants are serving at least one “fish to avoid” species.
Some Michelin-starred restaurants were amongst the worst offenders and a quarter of those surveyed are serving fish regarded as endangered.
More than one in three restaurants served three or more species from the “fish to avoid” list.
Charles Clover, the editor of fish2fork.com, said: “Some restaurants still have not grasped that sustainability is now part of the definition of good food. You don’t want to eat a wonderful meal and have nightmares about the species you have pushed a little further towards extinction.
“This new guide shows the wonderful work some chefs and proprietors are doing with fishermen to make sure that they source fish of the highest quality caught in the most selective ways.
“It also shows the awful dark side of gastronomy, chefs who place an ephemeral taste for which they can charge the Earth above the survival of whole species and ecosystems.
“What few people know is that the supermarkets have made huge strides in recent years to get endangered fish off their shelves.
“The trouble is, these species very often remain on the menu at white tablecloth restaurants who haven’t yet had the searchlight of public opinion directed at the dark corners of their menus, where there are some real horror stories.”
Willie Mackenzie, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “As consumers we all have an impact on the oceans every time we eat a forkful of fish.
“We can make a real difference by what we buy, and we need to hold the retailers and restaurateurs to account for their fish sourcing policies. If we want to eat fish in years to come, then we have to radically overhaul the way we are fishing today – and your fork is the front line.”
Sam Wilding, the Marine Conservation Society’s fisheries officer, said: “It is encouraging to see Fish2fork highlighting the issue of seafood sustainability to restaurants and chefs, and giving the concerned consumer a voice.
“MCS provides consumers with free advice on seafood sustainability, through our pocket good fish guides and fishonline.org and is pleased to see our advice incorporated into the Fish2Fork campaign.”
Visitors to fish2fork.com can download the same questionnaire used in the survey to rate their own restaurant. Alternatively, they can ‘rat’ on a restaurant they suspect of malpractice, or ‘pat’ a restaurant they think deserves recognition by sending a quick email.
The website also features a ‘widget’ which will enable visitors to look up and check the conservation status of most species of fish they are likely to encounter in a restaurant.
About.com ran an extensive preview of The End of the Line by Jennifer Merin. She writes that the documentary is “a beautifully shot film that alerts audiences to the devastating impact overfishing has on our oceans.”
The Star Tribune, Minnesota, reviewed the film. Colin Covert writes: “Some marine populations ‘are no longer renewable because of what we have done to them,’ cautions London Daily Telegraph correspondent Charles Clover, whose work inspired this fact-packed film. With commendable clarity, it lays out the data.”
More on the song Coma by Kevin Heard and Thinbuckle. It turns out that none other than Lou Reed played guitar and sang backing vocals on the track. You can find further details on the Brooklyn Vegan blog.
Nicholas Lander, in a feature for the Financial Times, looked into the supply of fish to restaurants. He sent a menu from Oliveto restaurant in Oakland, California, to Charles Clover for comment, who said that “it was ‘a menu from the future, information-wise; [but it's a] shame about the halibut and swordfish’.”
MPR News in Minnesota, also reviews the film. Euan Kerr says: “The End of the Line, Rupert Murray’s troubling documentary about the impact of overfishing, explores the subject at great length . . . . It’s a thought-provoking film.”
“Don’t get us wrong, we love that movies like the dolphin-slaying expose “The Cove” and the alarming over-fishing tale “The End of the Line” are being made - they’re a vital social service. But we’re overwhelmed. Keep making the films; but for now can we just change our behavior without seeing them? We’ll catch up with all these films later, but we’re sad enough already.”
Total Film reviewed the movie, giving it 3 stars. Jamie Russell said: “[Rupert] Murray, working from Brit journo Charles Clover’s book, accentuates the positive with a closing ‘get involved’ sermon about our eating habits.”
Writing in The Independent in an article on bluefin tuna entitled ‘This is the blue whale of our time‘, Charles Clover said: “The collapse of the bluefin now being predicted is a crisis of Atlantic proportions.”
In The Times, Ocean’s Correspondent Frank Pope, wrote: “Explanations do not get much more powerful than the film The End of the Line, which looks at the effect of overfishing, and which is being shown today, World Oceans Day, at cinemas nationwide.”
He went on to say: “Greenpeace has already “outed” Nobu on their unsustainable practices (this interaction is featured in the forthcoming documentary The End of the Line, based on the excellent book by Charles Clover).”
Another Greenpeace blogger, Adele, was also very impressed, saying: “I was at the [UK] premiere screening of the film (a documentary based on the book by journalist Charles Clover) here in London, and boy, it took me back. It was like Defending Our Oceans: The Movie.”
“The End of the Line has arrived all round, as the just-released film globally acknowledged to be the Inconvenient Truth of the oceans thunders home its staggering facts about ‘the greatest environmental disaster that no-one’s heard of’.”
“He saw the film five months ago and was so disturbed, he arranged a private viewing for 40 of the company’s senior managers at a private cinema in London four days later. ‘I felt I had a responsibility,’ he says. ‘Knowledge is power’.”
There was further coverage of The End of the Line last week - both reviews of the film and related conservation news stories.
The new study by Boris Worm and Ray Hilborn, who both appear in the film, that showed that fish stocks in certain areas had recovered slightly due to conservation measures was widely covered. The impact of the film was included in a number of these reports.
MPs from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said in a statement that the government “should consider the wisdom of continuing to advise consumers to eat at least two portions of fish a week at a time when the ability of the marine environment to meet this demand is questionable”.
Meatless in Miami, one of the Miami New Times’s Short Order food blogs, gives the film a mention. Lauren Raskine, says: “Based on the book by UK journalist Charles Clover who has extensively researched [our consumption of seafood, the film] asserts 1.2 billion people will potentially starve and it won’t be pretty, folks.”
The Pathways to Abundant Living blog reviews the film. It says: “The End of the Line is not against all fishing or eating fish. Instead it advocates a responsible attitude towards endangered and over-exploited species of fish
Canadian magazine Common Ground also carries a review The End of the Line. Robert Alstead writes: “Rupert Murray’s team brings memorable footage from around the world to connect the dots between consumer tastes and ocean depletion.
“The film is grimly fascinating and offers prescriptions for better fisheries management.”
Finally for this week, Local Vertical blog reports that Charles Clover’s book The End of the Line has been the inspiration for a song.
Entitled Coma, it is by Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle, and is taken from their new album Havana Winter, which is available from Kevin Hearn.com. You can listen to it here.
We said there would be giving away film-related items and that we would publish a selection on the site.
The End of the Line official cinema poster
Well, the prizes have been decided upon. We will be giving away four official cinema posters for The End of the Line, which are not available to buy anywhere. They will also be signed by a senior member of The End of the Line team.
The team here at The End of the Line have been amazed at the response the film and campaign have had from the public, the media and businesses.
From the success of the US and UK screenings to the changes in sourcing policy that film has helped to achieve in UK food chains such as Pret a Manger and Marks and Spencer, we couldn’t have wished for more.
The support and feedback we are getting has also been fantastic, and the worldwide demand for the film has been massive.
We do intend to bring the film to many countries later this year, including (but not limited to) the rest of Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, South America and Asia.
If you want to see the film, email us at email@example.com and we will let you know when there is news about arrangements for your country. We will reply to all the comments and suggestions - but it might take us a bit of time.
For those of you keen to see the film in New York, a very special screening of The End of the Line has been arranged that will take place on Saturday 22nd August on the beach at Governors Island.
Rooftop Films and The Fledgling Fund are in the process of finalising arrangements, which look set to include live music from Sound Fix Records, and a large tent should rain attempt to spoil the evening. Attendees will have to get a ferry across from the southern tip of Manhattan.
He gave the film 3/4 stars, saying: “The End of the Line, directed by Rupert Murray, based on a book by Charles Clover, is constructed from interviews with many experts, a good deal of historical footage, and much incredible footage from under the sea, including breathtaking vistas of sea preserves.” Continue reading ‘The End of the Line reviews and coverage’
The End of the Line started a campaign to ask China Tang not to serve shark fin soup, which proved to be short-lived as Sir David agreed not to serve the soup at the London restaurant following pressure from environment groups.
Screenshot of the Island Tang website showing shark fin soup
Conservationist Lord Antony Rufus-Issacs had said that when he ate at China Tang he was offered shark fin soup - which was not on the menu. Having been inspired by The End of the Line, Lord Antony wrote to Sir David to protest.
The other piece of good news this week was for bluefin tuna, following the Netherlands’ announcement yesterday that it was backing proposals by Monaco to add the Atlantic bluefin to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).