The director of the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy on Friday launched a petition drive on the website change.org to encourage UK Environmental Secretary George Eustice and other world leaders to prohibit commercial fishing in 30 percent of their country's waters by 2030.
Director Ali Tabrizi and his wife and Seaspiracy assistant director, Lucy, said in the petition that "the fishing industry is by far the most destructive industry in our oceans."
The filmmakers want governments around the world to create marine reserves in 30 percent of their waters. Fishing would be prohibited in these protected areas.
Petition signatures surpassed 18,000 shortly after the effort was announced on Instagram. The Seaspiracy Instagram page has 484,000 followers. Combined, nearly 600,000 people follow Seaspiracy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The documentary, which has drawn widespread criticism for its sensationalism and inaccuracy, vaulted, nonetheless, into Netflix's top 10 films in over 30 countries within the first week after its release on March 24, and amplification by celebrities, activist groups and shocked consumers ensured that the film would reach a massive audience.
The Marine Stewardship Council -- the world's foremost eco-label -- was criticized in the film as a pay-for-play greenwash for the sector. The MSC declined to be interviewed, a decision that drew criticism. The MSC eventually released a statement.
Other NGOs didn't fare well, either. Groups such as Greenpeace and Oceana that support sustainable aquaculture and fisheries are fielding attacks for their support of the film. The explanation that veganism is not a solution for the majority of the world's seafood consumers hasn't held water with opponents.
The film has blowback from experts questions findings and methodology. The tables turned in the social media universe, with not just seafood companies and associations, but researchers noting that key findings cited were widely debunked, even by the paper authors.
One group of fisheries research experts affiliated with the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (which also receives some seafood industry funding) called the film "racist, classist, colonialist."
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