What’s Greenpeace doing at Sundance Film Festival?

I’m writing this from Utah, a landlocked state in the US, which hosts the Sundance Film Festival each year.

Greenpeace stage a fun protest on overfishing with a walkabout by a Guppie

Greenpeace stage a fun protest on overfishing with a walkabout by a guppie

Sundance is known as *the* place for new independent films, and we’re here to support a great new documentary movie about what overfishing is doing to our oceans.

As anyone familiar with the oceans campaign knows, after climate change, fishing is the biggest threat to life in our oceans – ruthlessly overfishing stocks, discarding perfectly-marketable fish, needlessly killing other species as bycatch, and trashing entire habitats with destructive fishing gear.

Yet since it’s being done out at sea, and out of sight, it’s largely out of mind for most people. Just how much thought do most people give to the fish they eat? Do they know where it comes from? How it was caught?

In many ways the situation in our oceans is leagues behind where we’re at on land – no one would ever consider serving tiger sushi, filet-o-rhino, or gorilla steaks, yet endangered fish species are still on the menu in the most fashionable fish restaurants.

But it’s okay, right? There are still fish in the supermarkets, so why worry? And fishermen and politicians, it’s in their best interest to ‘manage’ our oceans properly, surely?

Sadly, no. Both fishermen and politicians repeatedly ignore scientific advice, and both professions seem prone to taking short term decisions. And the result is disastrous.

Ninety per cent of the big fish in our oceans (tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod etc.) have gone in the last few decades.

Three-quarters of global fisheries are either fully exploited, overexploited, or totally trashed. And we have to fish further and further down the food chain, in areas we’ve never fished before, and for species we previously ignored or thought unpalatable (krill burger, anyone?).

The Greenpeace fish poses for the press at Sundance

The Greenpeace fish poses for the press at Sundance

The world’s appetite for fish is running unchecked, and ruining life in our oceans. And it doesn’t stop there, of course, as an ocean devoid of fish would have drastic ramifications for the many millions of humans who depend on them too.

So that’s why we’re here at Sundance, with some eager volunteers from the US, and some big red ‘Guppie’ fish costumes from Holland, braving the mountain cold of Utah in January, to help promote the premiere of this new movie.

People need to know what’s happening in OUR oceans, what needs to be done, and how they can start to redress the balance themselves – that’s the basis of Greenpeace’s oceans campaign, and it’s exactly what the End Of The Line is all about.

Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t plenty more fish in the sea. And if we don’t take drastic action now to fish better, fish less, and create large-scale marine reserves where fishing and other destructive activity is prohibited, it may very well be the End Of The Line.

Keep checking out this site for updates on what’s been happening at Sundance.

  • Willie MacKenzie is part of the Oceans Campaign for Greenpeace UK


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