Darwin’s Nightmare (2004)

27 Feb

Review of the documentary Darwin's Nightmare

Do you ever eat fish from lake Victoria, located in Tanzania? Since 500 tons of fish are caught each day, which feeds two million people, chances are that you could have. The lake was once a rich environment with hundreds of species of fish, but because of the introduction of one big predatory fish, the Nile perch, many species disappeared. This huge fish is now caught, cut up and sent all over the world to be consumed. You might not know the story behind what gets onto your plate, but as this Oscar nominated documentary shows, you should.

Review of the documentary Darwin's Nightmare

This documentary shows the consequences of the mass consumption of this fish. Many people move towards lake Victoria in order to make some money, but many end up in a situation where they are struggling to survive. The factories where the fish is processed might be clean and high tech, praised by visitors from the EU, but what they don’t see is the dark side this documentary shows. The people who live around the lake can not afford the fish themselves and eat the leftovers. Mountains of almost rotting parts of the fish which are not used are dried and later sold to local people. This process is dirty and dangerous for the people doing the work as the gasses which are released are very aggresive and the documentary shows a woman who has lost one of her eyes because of it.

The fish trade does not seem the only thing which is happening as this documentary hints at the fact that the Russian freightplanes sometimes don’t land empty, but bring weapons into the country. As wars happen regularly in the region, this only worsens the situation. In the poor fishing towns everyone is looking out for themselves, so if you get sick you better head home, because other will not help you. Women often sell their bodies to make ends meet and run the risk of catching diseases. Those who decide to make more money and hang out with the pilots of the planes are taking big risks as the pilots are often extremely violent. During the filming of this documentary one of them (who was filmed at the beginning) lost her life when she was severely beaten.

Review of the documentary Darwin's Nightmare

The movie shows in detail what a nightmare the fish trade has created. All these horrible things happen, just because we want a nice little piece of fish on our plates. This powerful documentary really makes you change your mind about eating fish which comes from Lake Victoria and personally I don’t want to eat this specific fish anymore. It is said that change has to start somewhere and even though I’m just one person at least I can say I do not want to be a part of keeping these horrible conditions people live in alive.

Score: 9

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