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By Gabrielle Redner

Rupert Murray’s documentary, The End of the Line, educates its audience about the reality of the sea: it is not an ever -replenishing body of water, and it is running low on many of its largest fish. Most likely, people who go to see the film agree that the ocean, like our land, must be mindfully utilized and not greedily mined. So what new information does the film provide to those who are concerned about fish in the sea? For starters, Murray acknowledges that the trawlers scooping hordes of fish out of the ocean rob the world not only of fish, but of jobs, a food source and the spirit of fishing communities.

Based on a book by British journalist Charles Clover, this film visually exposes the fishing industry’s incredibly powerful technologies. A boat unloads a waterfall of sardines, most of which will be used to feed farmed fish. Graphs of fish populations plummet, while graphs of their pray are on the exponential rise. The viewer is warned of the inevitable simplification of aquatic ecosystems if we continue to fish beyond recommended quotas.

As the scenes flash from rather bloody struggles of man and fish to decadent diners at Nobu, it’s hard not to think back to your last piece of delicious fish with a portion of guilt. But that is not the point. Like our land animals that may be sustainably raised and fed, fish can be caught using methods that ensure their sustainability, as well. The film does not ask us to reconsider whether to eat fish or not, but rather to consider the practices of those who caught the fish, and the stability of that species.