Seaspiracy shows why we must treat fish not as seafood, but as wildlife

The film gets some things wrong, but it exposes the grim ecological destruction of the Earth’s oceans

‘t’s time to see the oceans in a new light.’ Still from the documentary Seaspiracy. Photograph: Sea Shepherd

When the BBC made a film about the crisis in our oceans, it somehow managed to avoid naming the greatest cause of their ecological destruction: the fishing industry.

The only significant sequence on fishing in 2017’s Blue Planet II was a heartwarming story about how kind Norwegian herring boats are to orcas. It presented industrial fishing not as the greatest threat to sealife, but as its saviour.

It’s as if you were to make a film about climate breakdown without revealing the role of fossil fuel companies. Oh, hang on, the BBC did that too, in 2006. Its documentary The Truth about Climate Change mentioned fossil fuel companies only as part of the solution, because one of them was experimenting with carbon capture and storage.

These films consisted of handwringing about a scarcely defined problem, followed by a suggestion that we should “do something”, while offering no hint of what this something might be.