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The End of the Line

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.

'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.' Library Journal

'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.' Video Librarian

'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.' G Magazine

'[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.' Film4

'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

'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.' Grid Magazine

'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.' Filmink


Main credits

Murray, Rupert (Director)
Murray, Rupert (Cinematographer)
Waitt, Ted (Producer)
Knie, Erica (Producer)
Zoullas, Alexis (Producer)
Barnes, Chris Gorell (Producer)
Hird, Christopher (Producer)
Search, Jess (Producer)
Lewis, Claire (Producer)
Duffield, George (Producer)
Danson, Ted (Narrator)
Ferguson, Claire (Film editor)

Other credits

Edited by Claire Ferguson; filmed by Rupert Murray; original music by Srdjan Kurpjel & Marios Takoushis.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Animal Rights
Asian Studies
Business Practices
Endangered Species
Environmental Justice
European Studies
Global Issues
Marine Biology
Migration and Refugees
Natural Resources
Oceans and Coasts


overfishing, oceans, Charles Clover, overexploitation, cod, collapse of cod fishery, Newfoundland, bluefin tuna, fishing quotas, fish as food, political action, governments, menu selections, restaurateurs, changing consumption habits, end of wild fish, mid-century, Mitsubishi, hoarding bluefin tuna, industrial fishing, West Africa, emigration to Europe, Nobu, declining world food catch, loss of predators, Alaska's fishery, marine reserves, power of consumers, Daily Telegraph, trawling, St. Johns, John Crosbie, Brian Mulroney, Jeffrey Hutchings, Callum Roberts, Daniel Pauly, Boris Worm, Almadraba, Ray Hilborn, Roberto Mielgo, Sergi Tudela, European Uniion, Malta, Lampedusa, Tokyo, ICCAT, Rashid Sumaila, Haidar El Ali, diving, Senegal, Coral Triangle, Chesapeake Bay, cownose ray, Pete Peterson, ecological imbalance, lobsters, shrimp, prawn, scallops, jellyfish, United Nations, Steve Palumbi, global warming, marlin, Chilean sea bass, endangered species, Richie Notar, Jamie Oliver, Alaska, fishing policy, Matthew Moir, Marine Stewardship Council, MSC, Yvonne Sadovy, consumer power, Peter Redmond, Birds Eye, fish farming, Patricia Majluf, anchovy, aquaculture, Exuma Cays, Hardy McKinney, South Andros, Nassau grouper, fishery subsidies, sustainable seafood, Wagamama; "The End of the Line"; Bullfrog Films

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