Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  55 minutes
Date:  2004
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Farming The Seas

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The perils and promise of fish farms in a world running out of ocean fish stocks.

Farming The Seas

Aquaculture was intended to take the pressure off ocean fish stocks and help avert a global food shortage, but many experts now believe that some forms of 'fish farming' are actually creating more problems than they're solving... and time is running out.

The sequel to the award-winning PBS Special EMPTY OCEANS, EMPTY NETS , FARMING THE SEAS explores what's at stake for us all. As the aquaculture industry explodes across the globe, a growing number of communities and fisheries experts are engaged in an intense debate over its environmental, socio-economic, and health and food safety consequences.

Market demand for seafood now far exceeds the ocean's ability to keep pace, and the crisis is deepening. Worldwide, most marine fisheries are either fully exploited or in sharp decline. With stunning visuals and compelling narration, FARMING THE SEAS journeys around the world documenting the most important stories as they unfold. From the indigenous tribes of British Columbia to the large-scale operations of multinational corporations, from Mediterranean fishermen to Thai shrimp farmers, FARMING THE SEAS gathers perspectives from around the globe as it examines the problems and the promises of this emerging industry.

The viability of the global food chain and the sustainability of our oceans' fisheries hang in the balance.

'Well-crafted and important environmental documentary that combines superb research, production values and journalism...My students were educated, entertained, and inspired.' David L. Brown, City College of San Francisco

'Excellent footage of aquaculture operations...It is easy to see why Farming the Seas won the award for Best Marine Conservation Message at the International Wildlife Film Festival and a host of other awards as well. It is well researched, well edited and a timely and interesting look at the potential problems associated with aquaculture. I highly recommend this video to all libraries.' Barbara Butler, Educational Media Reviews Online

'An outstanding job is done in contrasting the farming of [salmon, shrimp, and tuna] with the more sustainable Chinese practice of raising non-predatory fish and shellfish... The narration by Peter Coyote is excellent. Numerous short interviews effectively feature both advocates and opponents of aquaculture enterprises, including indigenous people, scientists, and industry representatives. With adequate background information provided prior to viewing, the program would be suitable for students in ninth grade and above.' Tim Maret, Shippensburg University for School Library Journal


The Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Best Independent Film and Best Marine Conservation Message, International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula
CINE Golden Eagle Award
Best Documentary, Environmental Media Awards
United Nations Association Film Festival
Vermont International Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
The Green Festival, Washington DC
PINE Film Festival, Portland, OR
Plymouth Independent Film Festival
San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
'Stories from the Field' United Nations Documentary Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Far North Conservation Film Festival


Main credits

Cowan, Steve (film producer)
Cowan, Steve (film director)
Cowan, Steve (screenwriter)
Schienberg, Barry (film producer)
Schienberg, Barry (film director)
Schienberg, Barry (screenwriter)
Coyote, Peter (narrator)

Other credits

Composer, arranger, B. Quincy Griffin [and 3 others].

Distributor credits

Habitat Media

Steve Cowan and Barry Schienberg

Habitat Media
Steve Cowan and Barry Schienberg
Narrated by Peter Coyote

Docuseek2 subjects

Fishing Sector
Local Economies
Oceans and Coasts
Resource Planning and Management
Environmental Geography
Marine Biology
Organic and Sustainable Agriculture

Distributor subjects

Canadian Studies
Developing World
Endangered Species
Food And Nutrition
Global Issues
Latin American Studies
Life Science
Marine Biology
Natural Resources
Oceans and Coasts
Science, Technology, Society
Sustainable Agriculture


aquaculture, fish stocks, global food shortage, fish farming, fisheries, seafood, indigenous peoples, multinational corporations, Mediterranean, Thailand; "Farming The Seas"; Bullfrog Films

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