Seaspiracy professor demands COP26 bosses not to let fishing industry off the hook
Claims made in Netflix’s explosive horror-doc Seaspiracy should be high on the COP26 agenda, a prominent marine scientist has said.
Professor Callum Roberts of the University of Exeter is one of many prominent experts interviewed in the damning documentary which saw some viewers give up eating fish after watching it.
The controversial film, by British director Ali Tabrizi, tackles how international fishing has been linked to climate change and even human slavery.
Roberts, who is from Wick and is also an award-winning author, warned that the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow in November could be one of the last chances to save our seas from damage caused by the industry of the Peach.
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Seaspiracy says the oceans could be virtually empty by 2048.
Roberts, of the Exeter Center for Ecology and Conservation, said: “Recent studies show that fishing plays a major role in climate change and should be treated that way. We really need to take this seriously and that means giving it an important place at the COP26 conference.
“Marine scientists have known about these issues for years, but Seaspiracy has brought many of these issues to the public.
Seaspiracy is diving into the commercial fishing industry and has become one of the most-viewed movies on the streaming service since it aired last month, with celebrities including reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian and singer from One Direction Liam Payne speaking with passion.
The documentary examines overfishing, destructive trawling and even salmon fish farms in Scotland as Tabrizi travels the world.
It shows how the climate is affected by carbon stored in the oceans released by gargantuan ships that dredge the seabed causing devastating and potentially irreparable damage.
It also shows how large numbers of mammals such as dolphins are mistakenly killed in a process known as bycatch.
Roberts said Scottish waters had a major problem with the issue. He added: “One of the biggest fishing industries in Scotland is shrimp. And this poses a major problem. It is one of the most destructive in the UK. Large trawlers use huge vessels with a fine mesh net to catch shrimp.
“But in addition to shellfish, it catches whatever it finds and that leads to the depletion of other fishing stocks.
“It’s the same with scallops in Scotland. Their fishing is too destructive.
“There are ways to stop the damage it causes by using more durable methods such as traps and manual collection.
“We have dolphins washing up all over the UK coast because of the fishing industry. There is enormous collateral damage with just about any type of fish you eat.
“I’m from Wick and in the 1820s the town was the largest fishing port in the world. But the fishermen caught all the herring they could and the oceans remained empty.
Glasgow will host the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow from November 1-12. A spokesperson said: “Details of the program will be presented in due course.”
A spokesperson for COP26 said: “The agenda for COP26 is still being finalized, details of the summit program will be presented in due course.”