The Dark Hobby
By Sabrina McFarland,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Marine life docu deep dives into aquarium trafficking trade.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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Positive Role Models
Examples of positive models and representations include reef activist Robert Wintner, scientists, and citizens who set out to preserve marine wildlife species and their environment. Wintner launches a reportedly effective public service campaign created to ban the use of gill nets in capturing tropical fish. At public hearings, Wintner and others address the aquarium trafficking trade, which involves the destructive removal of exotic fish and coral reefs from the ocean. Dedicated individuals and organizations concerned about present-day and future marine life propose legislation and new policies become enacted as law. Underwater cameras are available for use by the public to view sea species in their natural habitats as opposed watching them confined inside a fish tank.
Violence & Scariness
There are images that include the use of cyanide and dynamite to put fish in a stunned mental and physical state, dead fish of various species, fish injected with syringes, an underwater altercation between a reef activist and aquarium collector, and use of sticks to tap fish and force them into gill nets. References include fish being traumatized when grabbed by humans, the arrival of dead marine wildlife in pet store shipments, and fish possibly killing each other in an aquarium if they're not the same species.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mentions include fish have sex lives, and a number of species have one lifetime mate.
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There's the use of the words "gang raped" to describe a decimated sea region.
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Products & Purchases
There are images that include a public service TV commercial to promote the end of gill net use in capturing marine wildlife, an on-screen interviewee is identified as a YouTube celebrity, signage on business properties, clothing with words and symbols, publications inside a display rack, and an archival photo of a United Airlines plane.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are images and references to the use of cyanide to put fish in a stunned mental and physical state.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Dark Hobby is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the global aquarium trafficking trade. This commercial industry includes the collection and captivity of exotic fish and other aquatic wildlife, as well as the destruction of coral reefs. There are images that include the use of cyanide and dynamite to put fish in a stunned mental and physical state, fish injected with syringes, and the use of sticks to tap fish and force them into gill nets. References include fish traumatized when grabbed by humans, the arrival of dead marine wildlife in pet store shipments, mention that fish have sex lives, and use of the words "gang raped" to describe a decimated sea region.
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The Dark Hobby
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What's the Story?
THE DARK HOBBY is a documentary that exams the multibillion-dollar aquarium trafficking industry. It's a trade that involves destructive removal methods by collectors of exotic aquatic species and coral reefs from the sea for commercial profit. The film also features a diverse group of activists, scientists, and citizens who set out to protect the ocean and its marine life inhabitants.
Is It Any Good?
This insightful film offers informative first-hand accounts from experts and concerned citizens about the global operations of aquarium trafficking. "The pipeline begins at the point of capture and it ends when the fish goes belly up in a home aquarium," says reef activist Robert Wintner in The Dark Hobby. And some individuals also believe that it's best for aquatic wildlife to remain in their natural habitat. "Don't take my fish and put them in an aquarium up in New York City or Tennessee or whatever," notes Miloli'i, Hawaii Mayor Wilfred Kaupiko. "That's not their home." The Dark Hobby skillfully opens its door for discussion by shedding significant light on the relevant subject about the destruction and conservation of marine wildlife.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the teamwork of the cast in The Dark Hobby. How do they also demonstrate compassion, courage, and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?
What may be the long-lasting effects associated with the aquarium trafficking industry? Why are gill nets used by aquarium collectors, and what are the effects that they may have on marine wildlife?
What is the importance of marine wildlife and its role on Earth? What steps can you take to save the sea and its inhabitants?
How are fish social beings? In what ways are they similar to humans?
- On DVD or streaming: May 21, 2021
- Cast: Wilfred Kaupiko, Ben Williamson, Robert Wintner
- Director: Paula Fouce
- Studio: Paradise Filmworks
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Activism, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 73 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 3, 2022
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