Back in 2014, Cowspiracy shed the light on the devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet. This inspired the world to choose a more sustainable path towards saving our planet. Paul our founder deicded that rather than being part of the problem, he could offer a solution and dropped meat and fish from the range of all BOL products - including our dinner boxes, super soups and meal replacement breakfast and lunch power shakes.
Paul went one step further and in 2017 eliminated all dairy from the range, becoming 100% plant based. To date we have now wold over 40 million portions of veg to date.
Find out more about BOL's move to become a vegan brand.
7 years on, the film producer and conservationist Ali Tabrizi takes us on a new journey with Seaspiracy, exposing the damaging effects of commercial fishing. The documentary explores a wide array of topics, from the devastating impact of ‘bycatch’ to the significant contribution of fishing nets to the global plastic pollution issue.
It's definitely worth a watch and gets a thumbs up from all of us here at the 'Veg Pad' - BOL HQ. We've picked four eye-opening insights from the documentary that we wanted to share with you.
1. The issue of ‘bycatch’
Bycatch refers to fish and other marine species that are caught unintentionally when trying to catch another type of fish. It is one of the major issues investigated by the documentary and WWF have reported that 40 per cent of global fishing catch is unused, wasted or not accounted for. Most of the time, bycatch is just thrown back into the sea and whilst most of these are already dead, the rest are unlikely to survive due to the lack of oxygen or trauma.
According to the documentary, up to 10,000 dolphins are caught annually as bycatch off the Atlantic coast of France alone. The numbers stack up to 50 million globally for sharks, which are essential creatures for our oceans’ eco-system.
2. The contribution of fishing nets to plastic pollution
The documentary explores the often-unspoken contribution of nets to plastic pollution. By now, we have all heard the damaging impact that single-use plastic has on our oceans. And whilst we are all aware that plastic straws are one of the culprits, it is a drop in the ocean as plastic straws would account for 0.03 per cent of plastic in the ocean. In comparison, WWF argues that fishing nets and equipment make up a whopping 10 per cent of plastic pollution in our oceans and are a major contributing factor to the so called Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. An estimated 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear enters the ocean every year - the equivalent in weight to more than 50,000 double deck buses.
3. Sustainable fish labels may not be as transparent as they seem
Although eating sustainably caught fish might seem like a first step in the right direction, Seaspiracy presented the deceptiveness of these labels which are often used as greenwashing, giving buyers a false sense of security.
Asked whether he could guarantee that every can of fish labelled ‘dolphin safe’ was actually dolphin-safe, Mark J Palmer from the Earth Island Institute (the organisation that manages the label) replied “No. Once you’re out there in the ocean, how do you know what they’re doing? We have observers on board – observers can be bribed.”
And whilst some labels and initiatives do contribute to the reduction of the slaughter of certain species, commercial fishing still remains one of the biggest threats to our oceans’ eco-system
It's important to remind ourselves that we should all do our research on label claims such as this before purchasing products.
4. Fish farms might not be the answer either
Whilst it’s commonly believed that fish farms are an eco-friendlier option, it might not be that simple. Have you ever considered what the fish are eating It is argued that to produce 1kg of salmon, 1.2kg of feed is needed. However, fish feed is heavily processed and comprises of dried fish meal and extracted fish oil, thus requiring a massive amount of fish to produce.
Other issues highlighted by the documentary include disease, artificial colouring turning our salmon pink and water waste, estimating that each salmon farm in Scotland produces organic waste equivalent to a town of 10 to 20,000 people.
Whilst Seaspiracy has come under fire with critics claiming that the documentary shares a biased viewpoint with oversights and unsubstantiated claims, it remains a captivating eye-opener and has potential to change people’s behaviour for the better.
Is it possible at all to continue consuming fish, both from an ethical and environmental perspective? Tabrizi certainly does not think so.
“I realized the single best thing I could do every single day to protect the ocean and the marine life I loved, is to simply not eat them.” — Ali Tabrizi, Seaspiracy director
And whilst many might argue that the only sustainable and ethical option is to not consume fish - it remains a piece of a much larger, more complicated puzzle of planetary survival. So remember, every little helps.
And remember if anyone tells you that you need your Omega-3 fatty acids, fish don't make them. Fish get their omega-3s from the algae that they eat, so you can simply get yours from algae oil supplements.
All BOL products are 100% plant based and vegan friendly. Try our delicious meal replacement power shakes (delivered to your door) or pick up our salads, super soups, dinner boxes or centrepieces (whole Roasted Firecracker Caulifloweranyone?) at your local store. Find your nearest BOL stockist here.
We would love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. Drop us a DM (@bolfoods) or pop an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org
Eat plants, love life 🌱