Picks and Pans Review: Thailand: Convicts of the Sea
updated 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In the latest Rediscovery of the World special, the Calypso, with Capt. Albert Falco at the helm and Jacques Cousteau in the admiral's cabin, ventures to Thailand to gauge how this poor country is managing its maritime resources. The news is not at all good.
First we follow an armada of barges mining tin in the Andaman Sea. Using huge, metal-toothed bores that look like they were borrowed from Total Recall, they rip trenches along the ocean floor, creating irreparable damage.
Later we travel to the Similan Islands, a scene of natural splendor, but one with a limited marine population. Trawlers have long since decimated the ranks of commercial fish. So poor peasant fishermen, using crude breathing apparatuses, haul heavy nets by hand along the sea bottom to capture the few remaining fish that hide in the crags. The show's title refers to these men (called convicts because of the chain-gang-like demands of their incredibly arduous and dangerous livelihood).
In between these two segments are a number of spurious snippets, making for a program that is handsome to look at but disjointed.