Our Planet season 1 review: A deteriorating circle of life

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A sea otter chilling out off the coast of California. The otters spend a lot of time sleeping and wrap themselves in fronds of giant kelp so they don’t float out to sea. Filmed under US Fish and Wildlife Services – Photo Credit: Netflix

Episode 4: Coastal Seas

Our Planet explores the richness of life that exists in the shallow water of the numerous coasts of our planet, where 90% of the marine life thrives in episode 4. It begins with a glimpse into the interdependency between different species of fishes with stunning visuals of the shoals of anchovies, the trevally, and the mobula rays. Then, the audience is shown a delightful chase of dolphins hunting the mullet in an astonishingly strategic manner.

Mangroves, forests of gold kelp on the coast of California, inhabited by a rich variety of fish and most importantly, cute otters, and reefs are among other habitats explored by the episode. This brings us to the highlight of the episode, a scene of sharks hunting among the corals in the dead of the night, in the French Polynesia, where sharks are fully protected.

The impact of industrialized fishing is also depicted through the declining stocks of herring, once abundant across the Pacific Ocean. These fish, that once thrived in these waters, are among the few species that have been so severely affected by the exploitative fishing. The herring is one of few such examples. This, in turn, has greatly affected the population of the jellyfish, growing in number, but providing no sustenance for very few living beings

Among the many things that the episode shows its viewers, it constantly puts emphasis on the interdependence of various species in the sea and everything that’s at risk if these delicate chains are to be broken. Along with this, it also connects how the health of the shallow seas is connected to that of the land and the life it sustains.

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IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: Despite all the damage and seemingly near hopeless situation, the seas have an amazing ability to recover. This is illustrated through an example of the coastal line of the Pacific, by the Atacama desert, which made a miraculous recovery after excess fishing in the waters led to the depletion of the seabird colonies that gathered in millions. Introduction of control measures have seen a rise in fish stock and after 50 years, the shoreline sees a gathering as large as 3 million birds.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The visuals of the Guanay Cormorants, taking flight off the coast at once, and diving into the sea to fish was so memorable. It looked as if the sea was being carpet bombed by these expert and efficient divers. The last ten minutes of this episode was memorable in its entirety.