Fish is the aspirational food for Western society, the healthy, weight-conscious choice, but those that eat and celebrate fish often ignore the fact that fishing is an industry as technologically advanced as space travel, with an attitude to conservation 10,000 years out of date.
Trawling on an industrial scale in the North Sea smashes everything it does not catch, taking 16 lbs of dead marine animals to produce just 1lb of sole. Regulation isn't working, with fishermen losing money, dolphins dying unnecessarily and fish stocks collapsing, despite the warning of the extinction of cod in the seas off Cape Cod. Because of the shortage of traditional varieties the market has moved on, competing, sometimes illegally, with local fishermen in the waters off Africa, the Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
'The End Of The Line' also looks at the role of conservationists, the governments and multi-national companies and considers some models for recovery, for example how Barents Sea cod, Icelandic cod, North Sea herring have been rescued from near extinction, the possibilities of fish farming and the potential of locally managed offshore marine reserves.