Scubazoo’s Chris Tan combined two of our greatest passions late last year, underwater filming and conservation, when he got the chance to film in remote and exotic locations while documenting the crew of the Greenpeace boat Esparanza, as they crossed the Pacific ocean hunting down Tuna fishing boats. Traveling from Tahiti to Panama, Chris and the crew of the Esperanza spent five weeks at sea chasing down purse seiners. After some long, fruitless searching they finally found what they were looking for, near to the coast of Ecuador.
Chris and Photographer Alex Hofford were given the opportunity to board some of the ships and film and photograph the carnage. Among the huge catches were vulnerable species such as Bigeye tuna and Black marlin, a strong and beautiful fish widely accepted to be suffering from dwindling stocks. One of the biggest issues with purse seining is the large amounts of by-catch associated with the skipjack and other commercially important species. Commercially less important fish, such as Dorado or Mahi-mahi, are thrown back into the ocean, dead, to leave space in the hold for the more expensive species.
Some scientists are predicting a wholesale collapse in global fish stocks by the year 2048. While there may be contrasting opinions form other quarters it’s interesting to note that the northern bluefin tuna have been hunted to the edge of extinction and yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna are possibly next.
Browse through some of Scubazoo’s licensed conservation footage and photos online