Dispatches From The Outlaw Ocean Episode 6: The Fish We Turn to Dust

Fábio Nascimento / The Outlaw Ocean Project

Published May 25, 2023 6:14 PM by Ian Urbina

This episode is the sixth installment in a 10-part short film series from The Outlaw Ocean Project. It stems from more than a decade of reporting by Ian Urbina exploring crime on the high seas. The series chronicles a gritty cast of characters including traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, shackled slaves and vigilante conservationists.

Gambia, like many of its West African neighbors, has embraced the lucrative production of fishmeal. But the booming aquaculture industry, widely hailed by conservationists as the best hope for slowing ocean depletion, is polluting waters, decimating fish stocks, and threatening the lives of millions worldwide.

In this episode Ian Urbina will investigate the impact of fishmeal factories and foreign trawlers in West Africa, exposing how a fifth of all marine life pulled from the sea ends up ground up to feed farmed fish and why solutions meant to combat ocean depletion could be accelerating the problem.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.