Hawaii is ground zero in the global struggle to save marine wildlife. Some species of fish have been driven to extinction by collectors, and others are severely diminished.
Elsewhere, cyanide and dynamite is used to hunt the tropical fish to be captured as ´pets´ and then their their fins cut, and swim bladders pierced with needles, they are sealed in bags to ship globally. 90% die within a year of capture, creating a demand for replacement.
These fish eat the algae growing on the coral. When they’re removed from the reef for sale, the coral dies – which produces 50% of earth’s oxygen.
Aquariums: The Dark Hobby is an expose of this viscous industry while also highlighting the work of Native Hawaiian Elders, conservationists and scientists who struggle to ensure the survival of these stunning tiny creatures that are targets of a trade worth billions.
When Director Rusty Armstrong accompanied the Editor of Shark Diver magazine on a diving trip, a passion for shark conservation was shared by everyone they met. Overfishing and finning were the reasons for their depletion and had to be stopped. But then at the end of the trip, they met a retired shark fisherman who had different ideas about shark conservation…
The shark fisherman had fished sharks for three decades, and kept extensive notes about his catches and shark migrations, but then in 1997, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) attempted to put an end to overfishing and heavily reduced shark fishing quotas. Despite a well-known scientist presenting ground-breaking research that proved sharks couldn’t be overfished, his work was dismissed and the shark fisherman were put out of business.
The Shark Con uncovers the truth about the shark conservation industry.
Following the collapse of shark fishing, the shark tourism industry – comprised of people with a common goal of protecting sharks – was the next to suffer from new regulations being imposed. As the investigation mounts, it becomes clear that many non-profit organisations were raising millions of dollars each year for shark research, yet very little research was actually being done. Meanwhile, more and more regulations were being implemented.
The Shark Con takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride into the big business of shark fishing, revealing the controversial truth about the industry and answering the question: Are sharks really overfished or is this just an elaborate con?