The End Of The Line
- Director:Rupert Murray
- Release Date:May 13, 2010
- Running time:82 minutes
- Film Worth:$13.00
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A compelling piece of investigative journalism which not only outlines the grave problem but presents practical solutions
The Northern Cod were once so abundant off the coast of Newfoundland that "legend had it that you could walk across their backs in the water." By 1992, says narrator Ted Danson, the cod had been fished out of existence. There's archival footage in this documentary that shows furious Canadian fishermen trying to storm a press conference where a moratorium on cod fishing is being announced. While you sympathise with them - 40,000 jobs were lost overnight - their short-sightedness is frustrating.
The story of the cod mirrors the situation today for many ocean species, especially the bluefin tuna. The End Of The Line puts forward a convincing argument that by 2048, 90% of fish populations will have been over-fished into extinction. While the global warming debate has its detractors, the sceptics seen here merely disagree on the numbers. They think that it's "only" going to be around 70%.
Directed by Rupert Murray (Unknown White Male), exceptionally well edited by Claire Ferguson, beautifully narrated by Ted Danson, and filmed across fifteen locations - from Senegal to Tokyo - this doco is loaded with facts and stats. It's rough at times, with brutal footage of large fish being clubbed to death, but this is balanced somewhat by beautiful underwater photography. It's compelling viewing, and outlines the problem - and the solution - in minute detail.
The film works as a companion piece to the stunning Sharkwater, but unlike that marine doco, which had a deep respect for its subject, The End Of The Line tends to view fish only as a source of food rather than sentient beings in their own right, and it misses the chance to discuss humane fishing methods. But this is the only criticism of this powerful piece of investigative journalism. If John Pilger were to make a documentary about over-fishing, this would be it.