“And with the vast majority of our seas still unexplored till this day, for me, the oceans were an indestructible source of inspiration. But not long into starting the project, this romantic vision that I always had of the ocean completely changed.” -Ali Tabrizi
Those words were part of Ali Tabrizi’s opening to his controversial documentary, Seaspiracy. Highlighting the corruption and disastrous habits of groups across the world, the documentary opened on Netflix in 2021, and has been shaking up the fishing industry, marine industries, and even conservationists ever since..
I watched the documentary about six months ago for a Humanities Pathway activity, and it moved me like no other piece of film I’ve seen. I laughed a little – cried a lot – as Tabrizi showed the horrors of corrupted areas, such as an island off of Japan and the Faroe Islands.
I found myself in a quarter-life crisis, so to speak, about the impact I have left as a consumer of the meat and fish industry. I spent a whole month contemplating whether or not to remove meat and fish from my diet. However, after recent research (for this article, actually), I’ve discovered that the documentary may not be as accurate as I thought.
An article on forbes.com titled “Seaspiracy: A Call To Action Or A Vehicle Of Misinformation?” by Liz Allen piqued my interest as I was researching. Upon opening the article, I was overwhelmed with what I was reading.
In the documentary, Tabrizi calls out two major corporations – that are actually ocean focused nonprofits – for lying about their dolphin-safe fish and reduced use of plastic. Both of these nonprofits are “ocean protection behemoths,” making Tabrizi’s claims extremely scandalous for their companies (Allen 1). The nonprofits were forced into “supporting” Seaspiracy so that they would not enter into a large scandal with Tabrizi and his team.
This misinformation is not the only thing Tabrizi stretches the truth (if there even is any) about. Throughout his documentary, Tabrizi truly gives no backup for his information other than his camera work and some work alongside the Sea Shepherd (another nonprofit conservation organization). He uses a “just trust me attitude,” but doesn’t give much explanation as to why we should trust him or believe his claims that are off camera (Allen 1). A good researcher backs up their claims, something everyone learned in science over the years.
While there is some truth to Tabrizi’s claims in Seaspiracy, such as the fact that the poaching of sharks simply for their fins is unnecessary and extremely dangerous to their species, there is a lot that Tabrizi rushes over and lacks in expanding on. The documentary has definitely changed my perspective on how I live my life and what I will leave behind, but it also reminded me of the importance of credible information. While I thought Netflix was pretty credible, that didn’t mean Ali Tabrizi would be as well. Seaspiracy was an excellent reminder to me that I can and do make a difference on the earth. On the other hand, however, it did preach (unintentionally) to an arguably more important topic. The power of misinformation.
While making some humongous claims in his documentary definitely made waves (get it?), it also showed how the media can overdramatize anything to make it more interesting – and Seaspiracy is not the first example of that. Remember to always make sure your information is credible! I’m glad I fact-checked myself while writing this, and I’m sure one day you’ll be glad you double-checked yourself as well.
Photo Credit: Netflix