The End of the Line is six weeks away from its nationwide popular premiere (you can pre-book on line through this site – just go to the Screenings page) but already the fishing industry is starting its campaign against us.
Bring it on, we say.
When the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Seafish, the taxpayer-subsidised industry lobby group, sent their communications manager James Wood to the Festival to see the film and to report back.
Last week’s big development on the film was recording the narration for The End of the Line with the American actor Ted Danson, best known for his leading role in Cheers and his frequent appearances on the cult series Curb Your Enthusiasm.
He recently reinvented himself with his layered portrayal of a complex Enron-era fraudster in the legal thriller, Damages.
Ted has a long and distinguished record campaigning for the oceans and he told us that when he saw the film, he was thrilled: he felt that it told the complete story of over-fishing in a dramatic and accessible way.
He very generously took a day out of his demanding filming schedule for a new HBO series to come to a recording studio in New York’s Greenwich Village to record the narration.
He also gave us a filmed interview, which we will be using to promote the film and the issues it raises - and which we will put on the website. We are now outting his voice over on the film, ready for the release on June 8th.
Earlier this month, I went to Brussels for a private screening of our film, The End of the Line, and debated the sad state of Europe’s fisheries with Joe Borg, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Charles Clover, Tony Long of WWF and Joe Borg, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, debate Europe’s fisheries policy after a WWF screening of The End of the Line
The screening had been organised by WWF for members of the European Commission and country representatives ahead of the publication of the Green Paper on the reform of Europe’s fisheries policy last week.
I was surprised and impressed by two things. First, the openness and dedication with which Commissioner Borg trotted along and watched an 82-minute film and debated its conclusions, especially since these are even more damning about Europe’s management of its fish stocks than the Commission’s own Green Paper – which admits that 90 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished.
Europe’s fishing policy has failed and nearly nine tenths of its fish stocks are overfished, the European Commission has admitted.
The Commission published a Green Paper proposing radical reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and began an open debate on the proposed measures which will last until the end of this year.
Among the proposals are:
A ban on the “discarding” of under-sized and unmarketable fish at sea.
Making the ecological sustainability of fish stocks the paramount objective of European policy, on which economic viability depends, rather than a factor to be weighed off against the survival of the fishing industry, as it is at present.
Devolving decisions on the management of fisheries closer to the people they affect.
The UK cinema release of the film is being supported by retailer Waitrose, which has a long term commitment to responsible fish sourcing.
The retailer launched its Responsible Fishing Policy 12 years ago, which includes a complete ban on any threatened species and on damaging fishing methods such as beam trawling.
All its fish are from sustainable wild sources or, if farmed fish, from responsible farming systems. Mark Price, Waitrose managing director, said:
To support the launch of such an important film was an absolute must for Waitrose. With many species on the brink of extinction there has never been a more pressing need to bring this issue to the fore. The End of the Line shows that we can all enjoy fish, but encourages viewers to think more carefully about where their fish is coming from.”
The news agency says: “Overfishing will wipe out the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the ocean’s largest and fastest predators, in three years unless catches are dramatically reduced, conservation group WWF said.
“As European fishing fleets prepare to begin the two-month Mediterranean fishing season, WWF said its analysis showed the bluefin tuna that spawn - those aged four years and older - will have disappeared by 2012 at current rates.”
Increasing demand for the cucumber – once a cheap and staple food of the poor, but now fashionable in expensive restaurants – is piling pressure on already depleted stocks.
Sea cucumber feeding at night off the Indonesian coast
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns in its report that sea cucumber populations across the globe, from Asia to the Galapagos, are in trouble and most high value commercial species are already depleted.