Waterloo community reflects on ocean sustainability
Students, faculty and alumni reflect on the impact of commercial fishing and what they can do to help
Students, faculty and alumni reflect on the impact of commercial fishing and what they can do to helpBy Bruno Bustos Alegria Faculty of Environment
Offering a raw, unfiltered look at the catastrophic ripple effects of overfishing, the University of Waterloo held a special screening of the documentary CAUGHT on September 13 at the Modern Languages Theatre. The documentary screening prompted students, faculty and alumni to reflect on the ways they can contribute to ocean sustainability. Dr. Prateep Nayak, Sophie Thomas, Jack Salkeld and John Curry shared their reflections on the film and how it inspired them to take action moving forward.
Dr. Prateep Nayak, professor in the School of Environment Enterprise and Development (SEED), was a panelist in the discussion that followed the documentary screening. For him, CAUGHT represents a powerful way to tell the consequences of overfishing.
“Part of my research is about different methodologies used to tell stories," said Dr. Nayak. "Storytelling goes beyond what is possible through a survey, or facts and figures. This type of creative activism realizes change."
Sophie Thomas, an undergraduate student in Knowledge Integration, has been interested in attending more Waterloo events that help deepen her understanding of the environmental impact of eating sustainably. At the screening of CAUGHT, she was surprised to hear about the production of fish meals from considerable amounts of bycatch and, on a broader level, the complexity between people, culture and fishing in the food production industry.
“The documentary was shocking because it shows how complicated the food production industry is and how agriculture is so related to fishing — it is all intertwined,” Thomas said.
Moving forward, Thomas has three goals: learning more about the actions she can take to support the environment, eating more sustainably and continuing to learn about the work of organizations like Age of Union.
Jack Salkeld, an undergraduate student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, attended the screening with other students from his GEOG 356 class on Resources Management. He stressed the importance of staying engaged and learning.
“It makes sense to learn about something that I did not think about or did not know about and to make sense of what’s out there,” Salked said. “There’s a whole lot of bad but understanding that the bad helps us push forward and create some good, which is helpful.”
Moving forward, Salked said he plans to become more involved by advocating for different causes to his local government representative and will continue to attend educational events like this one.
John Curry (BSc ’65) is an alum from the Faculty of Science who frequently returns to campus to attend events. After the screening of CAUGHT, Curry wants to talk to people about the takeaways he learned from the film. For example, how pet food production relies on bycatch, but does not need to. For Curry, attending this event and viewing the documentary encouraged his belief that “you can’t rely on the general public to be in tune with the problem and change must be driven by our leaders through legislation."
The Faculty of Environment has hosted two screenings of the documentary CAUGHT by Age of Union, to shed light on the critical issue of overfishing and dolphin bycatch, and further discuss solutions that would allow us to protect and restore critically threatened oceans before it’s too late.
As part of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Waterloo strives to be a leader in sustainability education and research. We build on this strength by partnering with organizations like Age of Union to help drive society towards a sustainable future.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.