If we were only given the option of watching one team play football, rugby or a doubles tennis match, most would think that was absurd. People rightly question only seeing one political party covered in the media in the run up to an election.

Yet it is rarely remarked upon when filmmakers create so-called factual documentaries reflecting only the director’s viewpoint.

The latest example of this “shockumentary” style filmmaking is colorfully titled, “Eating our Way to Extinction”. With the backing of some celebrity money, it’s now showing in some cinemas here in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

Guest Commentary

Tavish Scott is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), which represents Scotland's salmon farming sector.

The Scottish salmon sector learned about the making of the film last year and reached out to the production company to contribute. As we always do, we invited the filmmakers to visit a sea farm and offered to answer any questions on camera.

We offered to demonstrate how we raise salmon here in Scotland and how we tackle the challenges that the natural marine environment can present.

A visit would have given their production team an opportunity to ask any questions about how we raise the UK’s No. 1 food export. We would have shown the innovative advances with underwater and surface cameras ensuring the correct amounts of feed reach salmon.

A visit would have given their production team an opportunity to ask any question about how we raise the UK’s No. 1 food export.

We offered access to our fish health professionals and licensed vets who, along with farmers and animal welfare groups, help care for the salmon daily. A production company interested in a balanced film would have enjoyed reflecting our farmers’ passion and commitment.

The response to our complete willingness to be open and transparent about what we do? The filmmakers refused to visit or to even give us a fair right of reply.

Just like animals on land, we risk hunting fish to extinction. But aquaculture has the potential to reverse that trend. Salmon raised in a sustainable manner increases an affordable supply of healthy protein for a growing worldwide population. Salmon farming is also key to the blue economic recovery that our world needs.

We respect everyone’s right to choose what they eat, and this should be an informed choice. Consumer decisions are helped by accurate, balanced information. As farmers, we actively welcome and encourage dialogue that increases understanding about food production.

As the United Nations has stated, aquaculture, including salmon farming, will be instrumental in making sure future growing populations don’t go hungry, and we’re working hard as an industry to meet this rising demand in the most responsible way.

Sports are much more compelling, interesting and believable to watch when both teams are playing. Films are no different. Let’s all expect better – especially from those people producing movies that are wealthy enough to afford the time it takes to speak with a farmer.


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