The End of The Line A Documentary That Made A Difference
Connie Allen of Films For The Earth in the first of a regular feature focusing on essential documentaries and feature films for divers who care about our oceans
One of the first films to look in-depth at the complex issue of overfishing was the powerful documentary End Of The Line. This groundbreaking film has had a major impact and has been seen by millions around the world since its release in 2009.
This powerful expose of overfishing was released to cinemas and was seen by 10,000 people but built a much wider audience through media coverage, television screening and was taken up by campaigns fighting for a more sustainable fisheries industry.
It played a crucial role in major supermarkets, food manufacturers and the general public re-evaluating what fish they were willing to consume. Public pressure led to many to change their sourcing policies with many removing endangered species such as bluefin tuna and swordfish from their supply chains.
The film is far from an all-out diatribe against fishing. For example, it looks at the collapse of the Canadian cod fisheries in the 1990s and details the damage done to local communities by its loss. It highlights the crucial difference between sustainable and traditional methods of local fisherman against the large factory trawlers that caused this catastrophe.
With fish populations unable to replenish themselves and breeding grounds trawled bare – this fishery that had for 400 years been one of the richest in the world, was by 1993 all but eliminated, and with it, 42,000 livelihoods lost.
More sensitive viewers should be warned there are some bloody scenes on board fishing vessels.
If you still want to learn more, we have plenty more incredible documentaries on the subject of overfishing and illegal harvesting of the oceans to recommend; check out Sea the Truth (2010), The Last Catch (2013), Blue (2017), Sharkwater (2006), Sushi – the Global Catch (2011), Ghost Fleet (2018) and 184 – Defending Whales in Iceland (2016), or browse other documentaries related to ocean issues at https://filmsfortheearth.org/en/issues/oceans