Who is right? The generations-old fishermen of Gloucester, Massachusetts? They say that the Gulf of Maine contains an abundance of cod. Government rules and regulations make earning a living impossible. The scientists say the cod population in the Gulf of Maine teeters on the brink of collapse. Without resting these waters from commercial fishing pressures, cod fishing will be no more.
The documentary “Sacred Cod: The Fight to Save America’s Oldest Fishery” puts us uncomfortably in the middle of a dilemma. Few permit-carrying commercial fishermen remain in Gloucester. The effects on related businesses deepens the erosion of the local fishing culture. Those who remain totter on decisions to sell their boats, to find – in middle age – other ways to earn a living.
Who are these government people, these environmentalists with bogus data, who want to shut down a way of life, who want to hurt families? Who are these fisherman in a deep fog about rising ocean temperatures due to climate change, about aggregated pockets of cod that may soon be no pockets of cod?
Could this “Sacred Cod” film have made it clearer who is right? Did the film appropriately balance its storytelling about angry, hurting, worried people? This film isn’t so much about controversy as it is about unsettled and tugged realities.
“Sacred Cod” is an involving hour. It’s easy to relate to the plight of this segment of our economics and culture. Good spirit to us all, maintaining right and balance.