5 shocking revelations from frightening Netflix doc ‘SEAspiracy’

The ocean is the center of a sobering documentary on how humans are impacting its ecosystem

As we gear up for Earth Day this month, SEAspiracy is certainly worth a watch if you want some horrifying facts to jumpstart your environmental kick. 

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If you’re a lover of seafood, this may be one of the hardest docs you ever watch, because the main message is that humans shouldn’t be eating fish the way we do now. 

In fact, the Netflix doc, helmed by Ali Tabrizi, makes the case that nothing is contributing to dangerous changes in climate as much as human impact on the oceans. 

The far-reaching project exposes just how harmful the commercial fishing industry is to the ocean and all of its inhabitants, including whales, dolphins, fish, and the plant life we all depend on to survive. 

Some of the people interviewed for the project are now walking back incriminating statements they made and suggesting their comments were taken out of context, but despite the controversy, there’s some really scary stuff to consider. 

Here are five of the most shocking truths uncovered in SEAspiracy

The ocean provides up to 80% of the earth’s oxygen. The ocean and the plant life within it provide more than half of the oxygen we breathe. According to the doc, up to 85% of the world’s oxygen comes from the phytoplankton in the sea. The ocean also absorbs four times the CO2 than the Amazon rainforest. The damage done to the seafloor when it’s mowed down for fishing is rapidly eliminating the coral, plants, and algae we need to get the job done. 

Fish farming is super gross. Aside from showing how Scottish salmon fills the surrounding waters with tons of poop, the doc also explains that farmed salmon is actually not the pretty pink color we associate it with. Wild salmon get astaxanthin from their natural diets, but the color of farmed salmon is completely artificial. In fact, the farmed fish’s flesh is a disgusting gray color without being dyed by the feed they’re given. Farmers are even able to select the color they want their salmon to be on what looks like paint swatches. Yuck. 

The world’s population of whales, dolphins, and sharks is alarmingly low. There are a lot of frightening facts to digest about the state of whales, dolphins, and sharks in SEAspiracy. Some are being plucked out for captivity while others are being hunted for their fins to make fancy soup. Tons of dolphins die as fishermen try to catch tuna, and others are murdered because they’re seen as competition for the fisherman. Another alarming fact is that whales help fertilize phytoplankton, which creates oxygen, and if they’re all dead, they can’t complete this crucial task. 

Plastic is a problem. It turns out those plastic straws being banned all over America aren’t the major issue. In reality, there are over 150 tons of plastic floating in the sea and the equivalent of a garbage truck load is dumped into the ocean every minute. There’s even a floating island of garbage, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that measures more than 1.6M square kilometers. 

The ocean impacts the weather. The ocean absorbs more than 90% of the heat in the atmosphere and a lot of that has to do with what the fish are doing down there. The movements of the fish help churn the water, cooling warm water down and bringing cold water up to the surface to absorb more heat. If there are fewer fish able to churn the water, then that means less heat is absorbed, and the temperature of our air changes. 

SEAspiracy has a lot more to unpack, including the shocking ways that the Mafia and slavery come into play. The fishing industry also continues its dubious legacy of pillaging Africa for resources and deeply disrupting the livelihoods, health, and wealth of the continent’s residents.

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While some may find these facts astonishing, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Check out SEAspiracy on Netflix for more and listen to this week’s episode of Acting Up below to hear reactions from theGrio’s Entertainment Director, Cortney Wills, and meteorologist, Liana Brackett. 

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