Netflix doc on marine pollution and over-fishing will touch a raw nerve back home

‘Seaspiracy’ examines the global fishing industry and includes interview with former Maltese EU Commissioner for fishing Karmenu Vella

The former European Commissioner for Fishing and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, has been featured on the latest Netflix documentary ‘Seaspiracy’.

The documentary follows the journey of director Ali Tabrizi as he travels around the world documenting the shocking realities behind depleting fish stocks and sea pollution. 

From whale-hunting in Japan, to salmon farming in Scotland, Tabrizi looks at how the heavily unregulated sector that is large-scale industrial fishing is leading to adverse effects on the planet. 

In his documentary Tabrizi challenges the notion of ‘sustainable fishing’, insisting the world’s fishing population has dwindled so much that the world’s marine life could be gone by 2048. 

The director therefore travels to Brussels to speak with the commissioner Karmenu Vella, who has recently overseen the ban of single-use plastics across the EU. 

In the short segment, Tabrizi asks Vella to outline his definition of sustainable fishing. 

“Imagine that you have money in the bank and you have capital. That €100 is giving you interest. As long as you are taking the interest and spending the interest, without touching the capital, then that is sustainability,” he said. “As soon as you start taking the capital as well, then you entered into the unsustainable cycle.” 

But the interviewer challenged Vella’s economic analogy, insisting the world’s oceans are already in debt. “Shouldn’t we just stop spending what we can’t afford?” 

Vella replies by telling him that one shouldn’t go to the extreme of not allowing any fishing, 

Tabrizi claps back by telling him that European institutions have already clamped down hard on single-use plastic. “So why, is the fishing industry getting special treatment?” 

“For me the idea is not to stop fishing, but to carry out more sustainable fishing,” he said.