The End of the Line
The first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Based on the book by Charles Clover.
Directed by Rupert Murray
Produced by Claire Lewis and George Duffield
Based on the book by Charles Clover
Photographed by Rupert Murray
Edited by Claire Ferguson
Executive Producers: Christopher Hird, Jess Search, Ted Waitt, Erica Knie, Alexis Zoullas, Chris Gorell Barnes
Original Music by Srdjan Kurpjel and Marios Takoushis
Narrated by Ted Danson
An Arcane Pictures, Calm Productions, Dartmouth Films Production
Note: There are three versions of this film on the same DVD: 82-, 54-, and 25-minute versions.
"Stunningly filmed...a riveting indictment of the ecological and socioeconomic consequences of commercial overfishing of the world's oceans." Dr. Mark Hixon, Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, Oregon State University
THE END OF THE LINE delves beyond the surface of the seas to reveal a troubling truth beneath: an ocean increasingly empty of fish, destroyed by decades of overexploitation.
Exploring the tragic collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland in the 1990s, the imminent extinction of the prized bluefin tuna, and the devastation wreaked by illegal catches and surpassed fishing quotas, the film uncovers the dark ecological story behind our love affair with fish as food.
The film argues that unless we demand political action from governments, responsible menu selections from restaurateurs as well as changing our own consumption habits, we could see the end of wild fish by mid-century.
WARNING Contains disturbing images.
Publicizing Your Screening: If you would like to publicize your screening of THE END OF THE LINE, you can do so by having the screening listed on the film's website. Just send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be posted on the website the same day.
Note on the Different Versions:
Original 82-minute version is recommended for a comprehensive picture of the effect that overfishing has on our oceans.
54-minute version follows the same broad oultine as the 82-minute version, but it abbreviates many of the sections, and eliminates: the story of how Mitsubishi is accused of hoarding bluefin tuna, of how industrial fishing off the coast of West Afica directly leads to emigration to Europe, and Charles Clover's crusade to change Nobu's menus.
26-minute version captures the essence of the original film. It tells the story of the collapse of the cod fishery, of the declining world fish catch, the fate of the bluefin tuna, the effects of the loss of large predators, and forecasting the end of wild fish. It also looks briefly at what can be done: the example of Alaska's fishery, the promise of marine reserves and the power of consumers to effect change.
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2009
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-920-8
"End of the Line is a moving film about the unnecessary tragedy of our depleted ocean life. Had we taken better care, our once-magnificent ocean fisheries could have produced far more than their now-tattered remnants are capable of. This engaging, passionate film shows how and why we need to realize that the ocean is not limitless, and what we need to do to help it recover from decades of abuse."
Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute, Author, Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross
"Stunningly filmed, End of the Line is a riveting indictment of the ecological and socioeconomic consequences of commercial overfishing of the world's oceans. Factually accurate interviews include author Charles Clover and some of the world's foremost fisheries biologists, marine ecologists, and ocean conservationists. This up-to-date documentary includes effective case studies and graphics that illustrate the history of overfishing and mismanagement by developed nations. Importantly, the causes of industrialized overfishing are explained, including ways that every citizen can prevent the looming crisis in our seas."
Dr. Mark Hixon, Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University
"End of the Line is the story of a Ponzi scheme--not on Wall Street but in our oceans. For too long, we have assumed that the sea and its bounty are inexhaustible, that new resources will always be found, and that larger harvests--or new aquaculture techniques--will always keep our plates full of food from the sea. But in reality, too many boats and too much fishing are depleting the oceans. New technologies, including ever-bigger trawls that scrape the ocean bottom and high-tech tools to find and track fish, are gradually destroying the oceans' ability to produce. End of the Line vividly chronicles the ecological, economic, and social consequences of this Ponzi scheme, revealing dying fisheries and out-of-work fishing communities. It is up to everyone to sustain the oceans' supply of healthful food: politicians must lead, we must all change the way we eat, and industry must abide by the rules."
Dr. James R. Karr, Professor Emeritus, Fisheries and
Biology, University of Washington
"The End of the Line provides an accurate portrayal of the extent of overexploitation of fish stocks globally, currently the main driver of change and loss in marine biodiversity, while touching upon related problems of unsustainable mortality of sensitive species groups and habitat destruction in marine fisheries. The film highlights the failure of the science-policy interface to prevent this overuse and misuse from occurring, a critical governance deficit warranting wholesale changes. The film promises to contribute to changing purchasing practices by seafood consumers, with concomitant improvements in fishing practices and management."
Dr. Eric Gilman, Senior Research Scientist, Blue Ocean Institute
"Compelling...It tackles a truly serious problem and the science presented is credible. It is appropriate for levels from high school to graduate students and has a broad appeal because most people eat seafood and it tells an absorbing story...The End of the Line provides ripe teaching opportunities for courses such as introductory sociology, social problems, environmental sociology, sociology of science and technology, and political sociology."
Todd Paddock, Independent Sociologist, Teaching Sociology
"Well-researched, well-edited and nothing short of a call to action...A useful classroom tool...Beautifully filmed, and an excellent review of the worldwide overfishing dilemma--I highly recommend this film to all school, public and college libraries."
Barbara Butler, University of Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Educational Media Reviews Online
"This compelling story, effectively narrated by Ted Danson, is beautifully filmed and edited...This highly recommended video is essential for general audiences."
"There's no disputing this documentary's dire warning...The good news is that marine reserves are helping restore the fish population, restaurants are being held accountable for the seafood they serve, and consumers are becoming more vigilant. But fishing technology is far ahead of the environment, and only humans--the most implacable predators--can reverse the course...Recommended."
"The End of the Line draws on interviews with scientists, activists and fishermen to create a compelling case...[The film] has a clear call to action."
"[A] call to action...Roams the globe to show how the overfishing of our oceans by greedy multinationals has endangered popular species like bluefin tuna, marlin, and Atlantic salmon."
Gerald Peary, The Phoenix
"End of the Line is an educational tool and a call to arms. Murray imparts three written commandments to his viewers as the film ends: consumers, politicians and advocates must enact change. We must be curious eaters, asking questions about where our fish comes from and whether it is sustainably produced...In addition, politicians need to value science and take control of fishing regulations and fisherman must be forced to observe the rules. Advocates for a sustainable fishing movement must work for the creation of more ocean reserves...As we 'win' the fight against fish by exploiting the ocean's exhaustible resources, Murray challenges us to ask what we have to gain by doing so."
Stacey Slate, Civil Eats
"A classical, stately documentary, that blends striking imagery with informed commentary to credibly present the facts."
"This documentary does an excellent job of dramatically increasing awareness. I strongly recommend it to teachers. Show it to your classes. Talk about it and brainstorm solutions. The next generation has a short window of opportunity to take action. Or the jellyfish, plankton, and motly assortment of marine worms my husband and I found so intriguing will be the sole inhabitants of our grandchildren's seas."
Veggie Revolution blog
3 versions: the original 82-minute version, a 54-minute version, and a 26-minute version + five short films: The European Union, A World Leader in Overfishing [9:13]
The Future of Fishermen [10:00]
The Future of Protection [8:23]
The Future of Seafood [9:02}
The Future of Fish [9:17]
Also has SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing plus scene selection
The film's website
Awards and Festivals
Sundance Film Festival
IDFA, International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
Environment Award, One World Media Awards
Best Foreign Documentary, Jury Award, Traverse City Film Festival
Best Environment Film, Boulder Adventure Film Festival
Best Environmental Feature Film, Southern Appalachian International Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Atlantic Film Festival
Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival
Camden International Film Festival
Frozen River Film Festival
Eckerd College Environmental Film Festival
NYC Food Film Festival
Coney Island Film Festival
Lighthouse International Film Festival
Ocean Film Festival, Hawaii
Alaska Local Food Film Festival
Cinemagic International Film & Television Festival for Young People, Belfast
Salem Film Fest
Slow Motion Food Film Fest, Nova Scotia
The Environmental Film Festival at Yale
Venice Green Film Series
Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival, New Zealand
ReFrame Film Festival
Saskatoon Environmental Film Festival
Provincetown International Film Festival
Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival, Orlando
Oneonta Film Festival
Green Caravan Film Festival, Dubai
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... more Reviews
"This is a film about overfishing, plain and simple...That focus gives the film a tight, logical momentum...An intensely sad film, and also an important one."
"This doco is loaded with facts and stats...It's compelling viewing, and outlines the problem - and the solution - in minute detail...If John Pilger were to make a documentary about over-fishing, this would be it."