Special Screenings
Traveling Festival


Empty Oceans, Empty Nets
(55 minutes) Indonesia/Italy/Senegal/USA
Director: Steve Cowan
Producers: Steve Cowan and Barry Schienberg


Despite an ever-intensifying fishing effort, the global catch appears to have reached its limit, while the demand for seafood continues to grow. Empty Oceans, Empty Nets examines the full extent of the global fisheries crisis and the forces that continue to push many marine fish stocks toward commercial extinction. The film also documents some of the most promising and innovative work being done to restore fisheries and protect essential fish habitat. New market initiatives are examined that give consumers a powerful vote in deciding how the oceans are fished. Commentary is provided by fishermen and by many of the world's most respected marine and fisheries scientists.


After founding Habitat Media in 1992, Director Steve Cowan's documentaries about efforts to prevent the incidental capture of endangered sea turtles helped promote the use of turtle excluder devices on shrimp vessels worldwide. In 1997, while traveling in Thailand to document the explosive growth of the shrimp farming industry, he and co-producer Barry Schienberg met several fishermen reporting severe declines in their catch. They returned to Southeast Asia two years later to film the activities of pirate vessels

plundering local waters and the destruction of coral reefs due to dynamite and cyanide fishing. These stark images would eventually become one of the case studies presented in Empty Oceans, Empty Nets. In the years that followed, Shara Lange and Julie Yoon joined the production team and further trips were made to document fisheries in New England, Alaska, Japan, Europe, Latin America, and the Canary Islands. The team is now working to complete a companion film that examines the intense controversy surrounding fish farming: does it really have the potential to take pressure off the world's oceans or does it result in a net loss of marine resources?

Contact Information:

John Hoskyns-Abrahall, President
Bullfrog Films
P.O. Box 149
Oley, PA 19547
Phone: 800-543-FROG
Email: john@bullfrogfilms.com



©2003 United Nations Association Film Festival