A Film Review of ‘The Fish On My Plate’

Documentaries are often created to advance an agenda. They feign objectivity, but it doesn’t take a discerning film critic to sniff out the slant.

Paul Greenberg has long been an earnest writer on seafood. He’s compelling because of his life story, his passion, and his non-idealogical point of view. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his writings, and tonight, I enjoyed his new film produced by PBS Frontline: The Fish on my Plate.

He seems to ask a couple basic questions:

1. Is eating seafood good for one’s health?

2. Given global realities, can one eat seafood sustainably?

The premise of the film was that he would eat seafood every day for a year, and during that time, travel the world to investigate the seafood industry.

In the end, it seems that eating seafood every day for a year wasn’t a magic elixir for his health challenges. Predictably, he found that on balance, the global seafood industry is unsustainable. Predictably, he found that there are examples throughout the world where seafood is being caught and farmed sustainably.

For those who are familiar with the industry, there is nothing groundbreaking about this film. Yet what I appreciate about it is that acknowledges the complexity of the issue without disempowering consumers from making better choices.

His take aways aren’t presented as a doctrine or as hard and fast rules. Yet they are actionable.

1. Eat bivalves, particularly from North America

2. Eat kelp and other seaweeds, particularly from North America

3. Occasionally, eat wild alaskan salmon

4. Look for sustainably farmed fish like Arctic Char and Barramundi

Most of all, ask questions, advocate for the industry to keep improving, and connect with the marine resources that sustain us.

Also published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/film-review-fish-my-plate-nate-bernitz.

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