Is Netflix’s “Sespiracy” Documentary Believable? – release

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Activist Ali Trabizzi’s film intends to condemn the abuse of industrial fishing. Even if it means falling into shortcuts or using obsolete data.

Question asked by Pierre on June 7.


Your question pertains to the veracity of the information and data presented in the Netflix documentary sea ​​water, Very reliant against the continued industrial fishing in March. Director Ali Tabrizi paints a particularly dark picture of the state of our fishery resources and does not hesitate to accuse environmental protection associations as well as governments. Using the thriller code, this film attempts to convince the audience about the pitfalls of the scientific method. While most of the data put forward is anecdotal, others are thus inaccurate or dated.

Sespiracy Intended to warn about the dangers of fishing activity from ecological consequences, such as the case of seashells by trolls, to consequences for humans. Thus, we learn in one of the film’s most striking passages, that many Thai lobsters use foreign migrants for their labour, even if it means turning them into actual slaves. The documentary also reviews, with supporting data, the problems of bycatch (the 10,000 dolphins found on French coasts each year). L’Observatoire Maine), salmon aquaculture in Scotland (More than 30% of specimens die before being caught) or the concern of labels that are too loose.

Nevertheless, many voices among scientists have spoken out against it. Seawater “with its propaganda vision and its fictional figures, was also the rare result of bringing together fishing and pro-environment conservation scientists in the documentary”. summarize for checknews Joachim Claudette, researcher at CNRS specializing in the impact of human activities on the ocean. Such as Ray Hilborn and Daniel Pauley, head each of these streams. To see more clearly, checknews Review the documentary’s most problematic claims. Requested by us, neither the director nor the producer of the film gave any response.

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There will be no more fish in the oceans by 2048

Sespiracy refers to a study by Boris Worm published in 2006 in the journal Science. except that, as stated teleramhandjob This was a launch in the event that uncontrolled overfishing continued, which was not necessarily the case. “Most data are destructive statistics for testing different scenarios, they don’t make sense if they are taken out of context”, Joachim confirms Claudette. Three years later, in 2009, Worm went back on his predictions and published a text already worth mentioning. “Individual stock replenishment” of fish. a 2020 study points in the same direction, indicating that a large number of species are seeing an increase in their population due to the tightening of restrictions.

Every year, 40% of all fish caught in the world are bycatch

From turtles to dolphins to sea otters, animals threatened with extinction are sometimes accidentally caught in sailors’ nets before being rejected, often in poor condition. According to a 2017 study, if the documentary puts forward the figure of 40%, their estimate is actually 10%. “The vast majority of rejections […] were made by industrial fisheries […], while artisanal fisheries have contributed little to the global abandonment”, This article specifies the research group of the University of British Columbia. In the documentary Concern, 40% highlighted the work of various collaborators who have used an illegal trap in their calculations or when these exist. The count nevertheless corresponds to a reality as rejected samples do not necessarily survive their capture.

Shrimp farming has destroyed 38% of the world’s mangroves

The director confirms through the voice of journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot that 38% of the coastal marshes (mangroves), which exist in 120 countries, have been destroyed due to shrimp farming. reference work Which probably served as the source of the Monbiot, giving 35% of the mangroves lost (which corresponds to the United States alone at 38%). Also, if this study points to the responsibility of shrimp farming in the destruction of mangroves – “Cultivation of shrimp is by far the main reason” Can we read – It also lists the weight of other types of farming in this disaster: fish and shrimp farms together are responsible for half of the damage to these natural environments (52%). Finally, more commonly, these figures are dated because they were recorded before 2000.

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Hammerhead sharks are on the verge of extinction

An alarmist graphic also calls into question, pointing to the almost complete disappearance of four species of sharks since the 1970s. The diagram, which does not cite its source, contradicts data from a January 2021 study published in the British scientific journal Very Serious Naturehandjob reference in the case. If the intensification of industrial fishing in the latter has led to the decline of 71% of the general shark population since 1970, then this is not the case for the common hammerhead shark, for example. (smooth hammerhead), which is an exception. When the documentary claims that their population has declined by 86 percent since 1970, Nature Conversely, their numbers would have increased by 29%. According to the same study, the scalloped hammerhead shark (scalloped hammerhead) There is a massive drop of around 77%, but not as much as the documentary declares, which mentions a 99% drop.

Fishing litter accounts for 46% of the North Pacific litter vortex

Journalist George Monbiot claims that the waste (particularly nets and buoys) from fishing represents “More than 46% of plastic floating in the North Pacific Vortex”, 1.6 million square kilometer area. This percentage exists. This is the result of the largest study on the subject, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, (GPGP, another name for Vortex) dating from 2018, which indicates that fishing nets represent “46% of the mass of GPGP”.

If this is true, then this figure should be put into perspective. Actually, Sespiracy Not to mention the presence in the vortex of microplastics, much lighter but much higher in terms of floating debris (94% of the fragments seen on the surface), such as straws and bags. Some of them freeze to the surface, others disintegrate and fall to the ocean floor, where they become especially dangerous to marine life.

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250,000 turtles are killed each year in the United States

On the subject, the documentary uses a figure of 250,000 proposed by researchers in 2004. while it could be used Founded in 2011 by the same experts : Thanks to the enforcement of stricter regulations, the number of animals killed had dropped to 4,600, the lowest estimated. or a drop of 94%, Even if researchers recognize a percentage that is certainly underestimated due to a lack of observers. A more recent 2017 study concluded that there has been an increase in “important” Population in some areas since 2010, thanks to new fishing equipment: the Turtle Exclusion Device (TED), which traps turtles thanks to a grid installed in the narrow part of a trawl.

This article was produced as part of a partnership with CFPJ for the magazine Application for Promotion 56.


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