Cocaine. Murder. Rifles. The high seas. No, it's not the backdrop for a new Will Smith action movie; it's the real life story of the secrecy behind the illegal shark fin industry and other disputed practices of the multi-billion dollar fishing trade.
Superstar chefs and healthy food advocates Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay go head to head with the fishing industry's dark side in "Big Fish Fight," a UK-based 3-part television for show for Channel 4 exposing destructive fishing industry practices that aired January 11-13th.
"Sustainable seafood" claims have come under scrutiny lately by organizations such as Food & Water Watch. The confusion over eco seafood labeling also prompted the Monterey Bay Aquarium to launch their "Seafood Watch" free mobile app to help consumers navigate the murky waters of self-regulated industry claims by vetting types of fish, farmed-fishery practices as well as trawling and catch methods.
According to "Big Fish Fight's" Web site, approximately half of all fish caught are thrown back in the water dead—or near dead as in the case of shark's caught for their fins. A delicacy throughout parts of Asia, shark fins are believed to possess medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties. Once a shark's fin has been cut off—while fully conscious and without being anaesthetized—he or she is thrown back into the water where they bleed to death.
"Big Fish Fight" aims to promote diversity in fish consumption and support the creation of policies that work for both fisheries and consumers. By taking pressure off of certain over-fished species, and bringing to light healthy alternatives, they hope to prevent unnecessary deaths and help keep oceanic ecosystems from total collapse.
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Photo: Hugh's Fish Fight