Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve

Simon Reeve, an adventurer and bestselling author, hosted a series on BBC2 that explored the Indian Ocean, the lives of those who rely on it and the dangers it holds.

Reeve explored the whole coast of the Indian Ocean, visiting 16 countries by plane, train, car and boat and discovered some unnerving truths about the Indian Ocean.

The documentary was filmed from an environmental and people angle, with Reeve investigating the lives of those who used the ocean, fishermen for example, whose whole livelihood is dependent on the Indian Ocean. He also spoke with Conservationists to look at the effects that trawlers for British fish consumption are having on the wildlife.

He discovered that “by-catch” is an overwhelming problem for the Indian Ocean, especially in Bangladesh. With Britain being a major trader for prawns from Bangladesh, trawlers are essentially “emptying” the sea as by-catch lifts marine life from the ocean that are not even sold, then thrown away dead. This is giving little chance for fish to reproduce and is causing a big problem.

Simon Reeve in the war-torn capital, Mogadishu

Reeve also visited the war-torn capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. He was brought right to the front line of the war with peace keeping Ugandan soldiers, AMISOM. Reeve finds that the peace keeping soldiers are fighting a tough war with al Shabaab, the violent Islamist militia linked to al Qaeda. People are living in tents and natural famines are made worse by the war.

He also confronts the issue of piracy that Somalia brings. He visits some pirates in prison and finds that their initial reason for invading boats was altogether different and non-violent. Reeve sought to see what the other side of the coin was like and boarded a ship that had taken every precaution against pirates as they had been held at gunpoint before by them, while they crossed goods across the Indian Ocean to and from various countries.

Reeve encountered an outstanding amount of problems that the Western world is influencing. It’s not only having a dramatic effect on the state of the Indian Ocean, but on the people too.

Reeve found that people were forced from Rice farming to Prawn farming in Bangladesh, and when this didn’t work out, they couldn’t revert as the soil was salty. Livelihoods are being destroyed because of human demand and plans to expand ports all along the Indian Ocean’s coast are set to worsen the problem.

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