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Film, Science

The true cost of fish

Posted by Hannah / September 1, 2006

Darwins_Poster_fr.jpgHow often do you think about fish? I mean really think about them, not just think, "Eww, that smells," when you walk behind Waldman's. Was that salmon fed shrimp shells to make it pink? Is that tilapia one of Cuba's genentically modified super-growers?

What about Nile Perch? It's a nice enough white fish, I suppose. But what do you really know about it? (Besides that it is one of nature's ugliest fish.) Well, for one it is largely considered to be one of the world's top invasive species. (You know those animals and plants that talk their way into a new ecosystem and then cause wide-spread destruction.)

(Keep reading. There is a point to all this. There's a movie at the end. I promise.)

The Nile Perch was introduced into Lake Victoria, a lake that conjurs up novels and romance in the minds of those who have never visited it. In truth, it is somewhat stagnant. And don't dip your toes in the water, because you're bound to end up with bilharzia.

Anyway, it's Africa's largest freshwater lake, and the perch's introduction has led to the extinction of many native species. Oh, but it did create a huge fish export industry. In 2003, the Europeans spent 169 million euros importing the fish.

The point to all this is there's a movie, Darwin's Nightmare, playing at Redpath Museum on the McGill Campus on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. It's supposed to rain (fragments of tropical storm Ernesto), so pick up your brolly and go see it. It's free (donation to the museum is suggested.) It will scare you.

But the movie is also just an illustration of a larger issue. Here's what its director, Hubert Sauper, has to say:

In DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE I tried to transform the bizarre success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this "fittest" animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the New World Order. I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone, only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria or Angola, crude oil. Most of us I guess, know about the destructive mechanisms of our time, but we cannot fully picture them. We are unable to "get it", unable to actually believe what we know.

It's the first of a series of screenings the Redpath will host this fall. Others to look out for are Grizzly Man, Encountering Sea Monsters, An Inconvenient Truth, and my favourite, Dogs with Jobs. That was a joke.

Call 514-398-4086 x 4094 for more info.

Discussion

3 Comments

OJ / September 1, 2006 at 01:49 pm
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While you're at Redpath, take the opportunity to check out the shrunken heads...seriously, they're so small, and real. After the movie, of course.

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