A petition seeking to protect marine life, created by the directors of the hit documentary, Seaspiracy, has been suspended by the Thai government.
Supporters are outraged and calls have been made for filmmakers Ali and Lucy Tabrizi to ‘expose them more’. This is after the film delved into issues affecting the ocean, from overfishing to human trafficking in Thai waters and beyond.
The Ministry Of Digital Economy and Society blocked the Seaspiracy petition due to ‘illegal acts’.
This is in accordance with the Computer-Related Crime Act 2007, the Thai government agency claimed in an online notice.
However, the agency does not specify what ‘illegal acts’ the petition is in breach of – only that it has been suspended. Furthermore, it does not state whether the petition will be permanently banned or not.
Exposing the fishing industry
Part of the documentary features claims shrimp and prawns fished in Thailand were products of slave labor, based on interviews with escaped enslaved workers.
When the filmmakers secretly interviewed a representative of a Thai fishing body, they were told the slavery claims weren’t true.
Viewers alerted others to the news on social media. One called on the directors to ‘expose them more’, in relation to the Thai government and its fishing practices.
Despite the Thai government’s suspension, the Seaspiracy petition has secured over 350,000 signatures worldwide – in less than a fortnight. Outside Thai borders, people can still sign it.
Ali and Lucy are urging the UK government to create and enforce ‘no-catch zones’ to protect part of the ocean from industrial fishing.
Thailand’s fishing industry
Seaspiracy put a spotlight on illegal fishing practices including slavery across Thailand. In one interview, a formerly enslaved fisherman claims he was on board for over six years. He was ‘so depressed’ that he tried to take his own life as a result of the conditions.
Despite this, Greenpeace Thailand claimed data featured in the film is ‘outdated’. Additionally, labor in Thai fisheries has ‘changed for the better’, the charity added.
It joined a host of Thai organizations and news outlets in claiming the film misrepresented the industry. However, it accepted the country could still make improvements on fishing more sustainably.
A leading fishing body in the US kicked back against the film as well, but before the film had even been released. This was revealed in leaked documents sent to Plant Based News. It planned a media strategy to combat the film’s impact and protect the fishing industry, and its profits.
You can sign the Seaspiracy petition here