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The Last Catch

A Documentary about the European Bluefin Tuna and the Acute Threat Posed by Overfishing
2013 | 85 min | Recommended min. age: 12 y

The investigative eco-thriller “The Last Catch“ deals with the issue of tuna fishing. Director Markus CM Schmidt accompanies tuna expert Roberto Mielgo during his research from the Libyan waters, to multiplying herds and slaughter premises along the Mediterranean coasts, to tuna auctions in Japan.

Having worked for years in the tuna business himself, Mielgo decided to fight for the protection of the species as well as for an ecologically sustainable fishery. His seemingly hopeless battle against the overfishing offers a deep insight into a system that has very little in common with the traditional ideas of fishing.

As a result of the extended shelf life due to freezing, fish has become a commodity that is speculated on international markets. The enormous stockpile of bluefin tuna allow to dictate the prices and to achieve profits from the price fluctuations. As a consequence, a powerful lobby emerged which influences the concerned legislation.

Mielgo sees the tuna business as an example of the “neoliberalism gone wild“. Laws and policies seem completely insufficient to prevent overfishing. A total collapse of the worldwide tuna population has become inevitable. Year after year, the tuna populations decline and plummet toward extinction, especially as more and more young animals are fished and thus the reproduction gets additionally restricted. The commercial fisheries as a consequence move to remote fishing zones; smaller fisheries struggle to keep afloat, particularly because of the heavy pressure on prices.

Besides a clever narrative structure and a smart linking of the research results, “The Last Catch” stands out with powerful pictures and a sophisticated cinematic image.

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