March 3, 2011, The Lakeville Journal: Call to action to stop overfishing of the oceans

Call to action to stop overfishing of the oceans
By Janet Manko
March, 03, 2011

MILLERTON — It takes something special to get hundreds of people out on a snowy Sunday morning in February.

The Salisbury Forum and Moviehouse FilmWorks Forum presentation of “The End of the Line,” hosted by actor Sam Waterston at The Moviehouse, proved to be just the thing. All three theaters were full for the screening of the documentary film detailing the effects of overfishing in the world’s oceans and the human population.

Waterston introduced the film at each showing.

He also spoke after the screening and moderated a question-and-answer session in the large upstairs theater.

Waterston is on the board of directors of Oceana, a global nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the world’s oceans.

On hand to field the tougher science questions was Oceana advocate and marine biologist Anna Gowan.

“We’re looking to educate the public on overfishing,” she said of the goal of the film.

“The End of the Line” (based on a book by Charles Clover) was directed by Rupert Murray and narrated by actor Ted Danson, who is also an Oceana board member.

The film presents interviews with scientists and fishing industry professionals, among others, who warn that if overfishing is not stopped within 40 years there will be no fish left for humans to eat.

The screening was sponsored by the Salisbury Forum, whose president, Walter DeMelle Jr., introduced Waterston to the audiences.

Waterston commented on the “terrific turnout” for the screening and asked the audience how many were already aware of the dangers of overfishing, and how many were at the film to learn about them.

It was about a 50/50 split. He encouraged all to take in the information presented in the movie and use it as the impetus to act and do something to affect change.

“Put simply,” he said, “we’re taking too much sea life out of the oceans, and putting too much bad stuff into them. We can make change.

“Let your representatives in Washington know you get it, that the strains are more than the oceans can bear.”

There was advice given both in the film and during the discussion on what seafood to buy to follow sustainable practices.

When asked what he consumes, Waterston confessed that he and his wife hardly ever eat seafood anymore.

“For us, it’s just too hard to keep up with the changes and to know if the information made available to the consumer is correct,” he said.

But he was quick to note that his fellow Oceana board member, renowned marine scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly, does not advise complete abstinence from seafood.

Saving the life of the oceans means seeing the big picture, he says, and that includes responsible and informed consumption of seafood.

The screening of “The End of the Line” was the first of the spring programs for the Salisbury Forum.

The next one will be Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Salisbury School, titled “How Photography Has Changed Our Lives.” The speaker will be Robin Kelsey, a professor of photography and chair of the Harvard University Committee on the Arts.

For more on overfishing, go to oceana.org. For more on the Salisbury Forum, go to salisburyforum.org. For more on the FilmWorks Forum, which Moviehouse owner Robert Sadlon noted is now in its 14th year, go to themoviehouse.net.

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