As scientists struggle to count fish, and conservationists attempt to save them, America’s oldest fishing community – Gloucester, Massachusetts is dying. Fishermen are losing their livelihood and even their homes. Last year, NOAA imposed a historic cut to the cod quota — a 78% catch reduction. Then, on Nov. 10, 2014 — the U.S. government closed the Gulf of Maine.
FISH & MEN explores the forces threatening our commercial fishing industry and depicts how our choices as consumers impact markets and drive change. Finally, we hope the solutions featured in this film will spark a movement to improve food safety, save jobs and protect the marine environment.
We will take our audience on a global journey. Preserving species, thriving fishermen, and feeding the world are all possible. This film spells out to consumers where their fish comes from, who is catching it, and how it lands on their plate. But it goes even further. To show how and why we must change the way we currently supply seafood in the United States today.
“We’re only willing to eat a certain number of species. And so what we’ve done is create an entire irrational economy that’s based on demand instead of what the oceans can sustainably supply.”
– Barton Seaver
Chef, Author, and Director of Sustainable Seafood at Harvard University School of Public Health
The hidden story no one is talking about
Cheap imported fish continues to flood U.S. markets. In fact, 91% of the seafood Americans eat is imported — and only 1% is inspected by the FDA. Even in coastal towns, fish fed to schoolchildren and consumed in most restaurants is imported from thousands of miles away, frozen and thawed. Meanwhile, the bounty of healthy fish that might be sustainably fished from the thousands of miles of pristine coastline of the United States is being suppressed.
Great models already exist.
In Iceland and Norway, cod has been brought back from the brink of collapse. Models built upon innovation, collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit are spawning new opportunities where a “more from less” approach means efficiency and profitability. Here in the U.S., forward-thinking fishermen are working with sustainbly-minded celebrity chefs in New York and Los Angeles to form business partnerships that bring locally harvested seafood direct to restaurants and consumers, reducing the supply chain and sparking a new model for the future. New frontiers in aquaculture promise environmentally sustainable food and jobs. Public health safety by harvesting the abundantly available domestic fish, along with improvements in the regulation of imported seafood by increasing inspections, enacting traceability requirements and implementing consistent sustainability standards.
Aquapod™ Net Pens by Steve Page of Ocean Farm Technologies Inc.
This film is about learning what is, and how things ought to be and can be, with enough consumer awareness and enough political will. This film is urgently needed to spark a long overdue national conversation and change fish consumption in the United States.
Chef Ned Bell’s goal for the future of sustainable seafood