Essay on Analysis of The End of the Line by Rupert Murray

Essay on Analysis of The End of the Line by Rupert Murray

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Rupert Murray’s The End of the Line focuses on the depletion of the oceans fisheries and the devastating effects it has already begun to have on ecosystems and less affluent populations. The film opens with a description of the tribulations of Newfoundland. Once possessing waters so populous with cod that one could “walk across their backs in the water,” improved technology and larger fishing vessels began to deplete the fish stocks. Despite placing a moratorium on fishing in 1992, the fisheries had already been depleted to the point of complete collapse. Similar processes are occurring around the world, as only .6% of the ocean is restricted to fishing vessels. According to the film, much of the ocean’s catch has declined by 90%; the continuation of current trends if continue, stocks will collapse by 2048.
The film could easily be criticized for exaggerating issues at some points, containing claims that the end of sea food could be realized within 50 years. The End of the Line is interesting in this regard, however, as it directly states that it is less concerned with the exact numbers. In response to claims that the fishery decline of 90% was "totally invalid" and was brought about in “haste to get a big picture,” Dalhousie University’s Jeffrey Hutchings states that “whether the number is 90, 95, 80, or 70 is irrelevant; focusing on the particulars is not helpful.” Any number regarding fish stocks is vulnerable to attack because of the difficulty of counting fish. While counting the populations in one area is a near-impossible task, fish are also capable of frequent and large-scale migration. In this regard, it is in the best interest of the film to use the most eye-catching statistics as the number will be deemed arbitrary by...

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...ishing. While it makes clear that changes need to be made politically, this is a film meant to appeal to the environmentally concerned citizen. The film-like elements, while distracting to those watching the film with analytical intent, would most likely evade the average viewer. Such thematic elements help to increase viewer engagement, already lacking in environmental films, as becomes significantly easier to watch. Rupert Murray created a film not to be picked apart by critics, but to serve as conversational material between average citizens. He takes steps to ensure that viewers are given simple directives and memorable arguing points, such as repeating images of the MSC sustainable logo. While the statistics may have be victim to claims of arbitrariness, it is easy to visualize an individual at a party asking if others have heard that seafood will end in 2048.

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