Artifishal

Artifishal

Artifishal

2019 (USA) 75 minutes
Directed by: Josh Murphy

ARTIFISHAL is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide towards extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature. Salmon have long been an icon of wild, but in our rush to meet demand and mask the larger root environmental issues, we’ve forgotten the true value of wild.

Ultimately the film sets two ideologies at odds, those who embrace the power of nature to heal and those who believe in a world that requires continued control. Through factual and character driven vignettes, the film explores competing world views and the extraordinary amount of public money that has been spent on an industry that is killing native fish, polluting our rivers and contributing to the very problem it claims to solve. In addition, ARTIFISHAL examines the negative effects of open-water fish farms–another failed technological solution we turned to in the face of plummeting fish populations–and their devastating impacts on remaining wild salmon stocks. Wild salmon have been driven to the brink of extinction by habitat destruction, overharvesting and dams blocking access to spawning grounds. Hatcheries and fish farms originally promised an easy fix, comforting us with the promise that these keystone species could be preserved through artificial propagation. We were wrong. Mass producing domesticated fish has only hastened the demise of wild fish-and if there’s a future for these irreplaceable species and the communities that rely on them, it’s in the realization that the best hatchery is a healthy river.