Request for Information: The Economist Films MPA Documentary

In the News

Following in the success of our last Ocean Series ( The Economist has been commissioned to make another documentary about the Ocean to be screened at the World Ocean Summit in Mexico, 2018. 

The film wants to examine Marine Protected Areas and those advocating the rise in size to cover 30% of the Ocean. We seek to explore the current health of the Ocean and see how overfishing, pollution and climate change are pushing our planet to its limits. We want to explore how MPAs can be used in conservation to help marine environments recover from the damage done by humanity and to provide an insurance policy for biodiversity across the globe. We also want to look into how MPAs can be effectively managed and enforced to have a meaningful impact both on marine life and surrounding communities. It’s one thing to draw a line on a map another to make that meaningful to both the marine life and the people who inhabit it. We are going to be looking at how technology can assist in the process of enforcing MPAs, using Satellites and unmanned vehicles to help police these areas.

As we need to deliver the film by March that sadly leaves us with a very short lead time - December to research, January to film and February to edit. In order to best explore the issues we are looking for a few MPAs to visit in January and film. The types of stories / locations which we are interested in hearing about are:

  • MPAs which have been successful in terms of marine biodiversity and engaging local communities. 
  • Marine Science success stories / discoveries that have come about as a result of MPAs.
  • Scientific projects / activities / research expeditions that are happening in January. We have covered deep sea exploration and Corals in our last films so we are hoping to look at a different area this year. Large fish and mammals work well in films as they tend to be more evocative and people engage with the plight of sharks, turtles, whales more easily than smaller fish. If there was any tagging or monitoring projects happening anywhere in January then we would love to find out more.
  • Any examples of whether MPAs can help combat climate change.
  • Specific stories of MPAs empowering local communities who traditionally rely on the Ocean for food.
  • Enforcement stories where MPAs have successful cracked down on illegal fishing or forbidden activities with the MPA.
  • How MPAs are utilising modern technology in their management.

These are just a few ideas which we think would help explore the issue and campaign for the creation and effective management of MPAs. We want to educate our audiences and hopefully inspire them to engage with this important subject in Ocean Conservation.

We are at the beginning stages of production at the moment and are hoping to get on top of the current MPA research and projects as quickly as possible. In order to ensure filming permits and visas we ideally need to find these locations in the next 10 days! If anyone is aware of any MPAs which tick any of the above points or which have a good story then we would love to hear from you. Any suggestions of experts to speak to or research tools to use would also be fantastic.

The Economist Films are shown online on a number of platforms including Facebook and YouTube and our last Ocean Films had 8 million views. We are really excited to be working on this topic and hugely appreciate the help from all the Marine Biology and Conservation Community.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,

Katy Tooth
Economist Films
katytooth [at]