One Planet Week
In January 2018, Blue Planet II won the Impact Award at the National Television Awards for raising awareness of ocean plastic pollution. In response to the series, concern about plastic bags, straws, and packaging exploded, and a great number of individuals and businesses have changed their practices. What has been less widely commented upon, however, is the extent to which plastic pollution is caused by the fishing industry. A 2018 study, for example, found that fishing nets are by far the greatest source (46%) of plastic pollution, by weight, in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
Fishing nets, it is worth adding, are by no means the only source of plastic pollution from the fishing industry. Meanwhile, precisely the reason that Blue Planet II was so evocative is that viewers saw the suffering of marine animals. Fish, too, are marine animals, and fish, too, suffer at the hands of the fishing industry - according to our best estimates, literally trillions of individuals a year. If we care about plastic pollution and animal suffering, we should be trying to drastically cut our consumption of fish - as individuals, and as societies. The presentation will close with some practical suggestions for cutting down on the consumption of fish, as well as looking forward to technological possibilities that open the door to a future without fishing.