NGPF presents book Sea the Truth, Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change

On Monday January 28th, the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation presented the book Sea the Truth, Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change. The anthology is an addendum to the documentary Sea the Truth, that premiered in May 2010 in the Tuschinkski theatre in Amsterdam. The first copies of the book were presented to Prof. Dr. Jacob de Boer, Head of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the VU University in Amsterdam, and Dr. Harry Aiking.

Harry Aiking, Karen Soeters, Jacob de Boer

The documentary Sea the Truth is the sequel to Meat the Truth, the first film of the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation  and a worldwide success.  Meat the Truth not only showed that the livestock industry and consecutive meat consumption have a major impact on global warming, but also offered an action-based perspective. Introducing just one meat-free day a week in the Netherlands yields the same effect as reducing the number of cars on our roads by no fewer than one million.

People often turn to eating fish to limit their meat consumption. Nutritionists propagate eating fish twice a week as it is packed with nutrition. These healthy nutrients are however easily obtained from other food sources, whereas fish may also contain large amounts of toxins.  And, most important of all, the sea is not an unlimited cornucopia that we can continue to empty at will without serious repercussions.

To address this, the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation decided a sequel was called for. The central focus of Sea the Truth is on the consequences of our hunger for animal proteins from our seas and oceans. All over the world, the oceans are seriously polluted due to plastic waste and chemical fertilizers. CO2 emissions caused by human activity and global warming are changing the chemical composition of the oceans, leading to increasing acidity of the water. As a result, the biodiversity in the oceans is under serious threat, the quality of the water is deteriorating and fish are poisoned.

This anthology is intended as a companion and addendum to the documentary Sea the Truth. It is a selection of what has been published by scientists, NGO’s and journalists on overfishing, climate change and pollution of our oceans and it offers a more detailed insight into the main themes of the film. Sea the Truth: Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change seeks to raise awareness of the necessity of a global reduction of catching and consuming fish. Moreover, it aims to stimulate the international public and political discussion of the deplorable state of our oceans.

Sea the Truth, Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change contains contributions from: Daniel Pauly, Reg Watson & Dirk Zeller (University of British Columbia), Catharina Philippart, Carlo Heip, Jan-Bart Calewaert & Niall McDonough (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) /  Marine Board-European Science Foundation), Charles Moore (Algalita Marine Research Institute), Jacob de Boer & Stefan van Leeuwen (VU University /  Wageningen UR), Clive Wilkinson & Bernard Salvat (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network / Université de Perpignan), Lynne Sneddon & David Wolfenden (Universities of Chester and Liverpool / University of Chester), Joanna Swabe & Susie Watts (Humane Society International / freelance wildlife consultant), Harry Aiking (VU University), Yimin Ye (FAO), Esther Ouwehand (Dutch MP)

The book may be purchased here.


Seafood labelling under fire

Some fish stocks that are labelled as ‘sustainable’ are overfished, according to a study that was presented in Marine Policy. Fisheries biologist Rainer Froese (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel) and his co-author Alexander Proelss of the University of Trier, Germany, found that 31% of the stocks certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and 19% of Friends of the Sea (FOS)-certified stocks do not deserve the label.



The ‘dominant role’ of people in ocean warming

More and more studies continue to emerge proving the connection between human actions and our changing environment. The most recent study about climate change, published in Nature Climate Change, proved that humans are playing a dominant role in the rising of the oceans temperature. Oceanography expert Nathan Bindoff: “This paper’s important because, for the first time, we can actually say that we’re virtually certain that the oceans have warmed, and that warming is caused not by natural processes, but by rising greenhouse gases primarily. We did it. No matter how you look at it, we did it. That’s it.”



Tiny shrimp leave giant carbon footprint: scientist

To better help the public understand the environmental impact of eating shrimp, the carbon footprint of shrimp was calculated. According to biologist J. Boone Kauffman, who is based at Oregon State University and conducts research in Indonesia, 3.5 ounces of shrimp has a carbon footprint of 436 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).



12% of marine species in tropical eastern Pacific threatened

Twelve percent of marine species surveyed in the Gulf of California, the coasts of Panama and Costa Rica and the five offshore oceanic islands and archipelagos in the tropical eastern Pacific are threatened with extinction, according to a study by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. Main threats to the region’s marine flora and fauna include over-fishing, habitat loss and increasing impacts from the El Nino Southern Oscillation.



UNEP warns: World fish stock being destroyed by rising wealth and subsidies

According to U.N.marine experts overexploitation of the world’s fish resources is caused partly by rising wealth in Asia and fishing subsidies. At the same time, pollution and climate change are destroying fish habitat. The experts say that up to 32 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, depleted or recovering.



Carbon dioxide affecting fish brains

Australian researchers found that increasing human CO2 emissions that are absorbed in the world’s seas, thus changing the chemical environment of the water, affect the brains and central nervous systems of sea fish. Over time, this may have serious concequences for their survival.



Marine predators decline as overfishing takes toll

Overfishing is taking a heavy toll on marine predators such as sharks, tuna and swordfish, says a new study by scientists at the University of British Columbia. The study, published online Monday in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, says predator species in north Pacific and Atlantic waters have dropped by more than 90 per cent since the 1950s.



Shocking footage reveals tuna industry’s slaughter of marine life

A tuna industry whistleblower captured new video footage that shows the routine slaughter of bycatch, among which whale sharks, rays and whales. The footage, that was released by Greenpeace, was shot onboard a tuna fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean that uses fish aggregating devices, one of the most aggressive means of fishing used by the industry.



2,000 sharks massacred in Colombian sanctuary

According to Colombian authorities, as many as 2,000 hammerhead, Galápagos and whale sharks may have been slaughtered for their fins in the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary. Reportedly, 10 Costa Rican trawlers illegally entered the sanctuary, after which a large amount of finless sharks were found at the bottom of the ocean floor.