New film ARTIFISHAL explores the disastrous impacts of hatcheries and fish farms

Documentary finds hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on an industry that does more harm than good
artifishal film
Credit: Patagonia

These days, iconic outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer Patagonia may be as well known for its activism as it is for its gear. And if that's the case, there's a good chance that'd be just fine with the folks calling the shots behind the scenes who have made the conscious decision to use the brand's influence, reach and, of course, money to help move the world in what it thinks is the right direction. Patagonia has worked tirelessly to increase the sustainability of its supply chain, has donated over $100 million to small organizations with bold, direct-action environmental agendas, and has helped fund independent films focused on climate change and other environmental concerns. More recently, the brand has challenged the Trump administration for its attacks on public lands, waging an information campaign intended to educate the public the on the benefits of and threats facing public lands. The company is also suing the Trump administration in an effort to protect threatened public lands.

Over the last few years, Patagonia has also gotten into the business of making films on its own—about rivers. The effort began in 2014 with Damnation, a film exploring the impacts of dams, and continued with last year's Blue Heart, which shined a bright light on the fight to protect Europe's last wild river system.

Patagonia's latest film about rivers, the highly anticipated ARTIFISHAL, debuts tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

According to Patagonia, "Artifishal is a film about wild rivers and wild fish. It explores the high cost – ecological, financial and cultural – of our mistaken belief that engineered solutions can make up for habitat destruction. The film traces the impact of fish hatcheries and farms, and the extraordinary amount of American taxpayer dollars wasted on an industry that hinders wild fish recovery, pollutes our rivers, and contributes to the problem it claims to solve. Artifishal also dives beneath the surface of the open-water fish farm controversy, as citizens work to stop the damage done to public waters and our remaining wild salmon."

Not known for pulling punches, Patagonia's notes that the film "finds hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars are wasted on an industry that causes more harm than good," and serves as an "exposé on the high cost of fish hatcheries, fish farms and human ignorance."

For Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder and the film's executive producer, the film offers a chance to highlight a classic folly. “Humans have always thought of themselves as superior to nature and it’s got us into a lot of trouble. We think we can control nature; we can’t,” said Chouinard, “If we value wild salmon, we need to do something now. A life without wild nature and a life without these great, iconic species is an impoverished life. If we lose all wild species, we’re going to lose ourselves.”

For tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival premiere, head here. After the Tribeca premiere, the Artifishal embarks on a 20+ screening tour across the U.S., with more screenings to be added along the way. For more information on scheduled screenings, as well as a host of other educational materials and information about the film, visit the film's official website.

You can view the ARTIFISHAL trailer below.