by Julianna Barbieri
The Atlantic Cup, the only dedicated Class40 race and also the first carbon neutral sailing race, in association with newportFILM will present a screening of The Last Ocean, an environmental documentary from New Zealand filmmaker Peter Young at the Casino Theater in Newport Thursday, May 23rd. Young, who will be in attendance along with key contributor to the documentary Californian Antarctic ecologist, Dr. David Ainley, is hoping to send a clear message to the US public, that eating Chilean Sea Bass could lead to the demise of one of the last great ocean wildernesses on Earth – the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
Six years in the making and completed late last year, the documentary celebrates the Ross Sea, Antarctica, regarded as the most pristine marine ecosystem on Earth. The Ross Sea is one of the coldest places on Earth but it teems with life, with many species found nowhere else on the planet. Since 1996 an international fishery, initiated and lead by New Zealand, has been targeting Antarctic Toothfish, which is sold as Chilean Sea bass in restaurants around the world. The fishery intends to reduce the adult population by 50% over 35 years, which will inevitably destroy the natural balance of the Ross Sea ecosystem.
US Ecologist Dr. David Ainley has been studying wildlife in the Ross Sea for more than 40 years; he describes the place as a ‘living laboratory’. “In the Ross Sea all the top predators are still there and they are abundant, a scenario you don’t find anywhere else on the planet. The Ross Sea can teach us about the workings of all marine ecosystems – we have no others that are still largely intact and well studied.” said Ainley.
Young, one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife cameramen and a key figure in the campaign to protect the Ross Sea, is calling for American consumers, restaurateurs and supermarkets to refrain from sourcing any Antarctic toothfish. “Protecting the Ross Sea comes down to simple everyday actions –not buying the fish that are caught from there is great step in the right direction,” said Young. “then tell your friends that we are down to Earth’s last untouched ocean and that it’s the Ross Sea, Antarctica.”
The Newport screening comes at an important stage in the negotiations to protect the Ross Sea. The body that governs the waters around Antarctica, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), will be meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany in July of this year to discuss a joint proposal submitted by United States and New Zealand for the establishment of a large marine protected area in the Ross Sea. Speaking at a private screening of the The Last Ocean in Washington DC last month, US Secretary of State, John Kerry said he hoped that the film would inspire people to be responsible stewards of "this fragile planet".
Young says that while the proposal put forward by New Zealand and the United States is a good first step, it still allows for commercial fishing and the Ross Sea deserves stronger protection.
“There is only one right thing to do in the Ross Sea and that is to protect it,” said Young. “We no longer take the buffalo from the great plains of America, or Lion from the plains of Serengeti, because of the value these animals and their home brings to our lives. For the same reason we should not be exploiting the Ross Sea.”
The Last Ocean recently won ‘Best Call 2 Action Film’ at the Boulder International Film Festival and a Royal Reel award at the Canada International Film Festival. It is supported by NZ on Air, the New Zealand Film Commission, Antarctic Ocean Alliance, Biotherm, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Park Road Post, Global Ocean, and Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition.
Last Ocean Charitable Trust is a member of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, which is made up of influential environmental organizations including Pew Environmental Group, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, WWF and Greenpeace.
View the promo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Visit the website: www.lastocean.org