Canning Paradise is a feature-length documentary about one of the world’s most prized resources, and those who pay for it. Decades of overfishing by the global tuna industry have now pushed the final frontiers to the waters of Papua New Guinea. In the 1950’s, the world was fishing out 400000 tons of tuna. Today this number is over 4 million. But it comes at a cost. A human cost, now affecting the last places on earth uncovering the full impact of globalisation.
Set in “the land of the unexpected,” in the North-Eastern part of Papua New Guinea, this film follows the struggle of indigenous tribes to protect their way of life, guarded by traditions dating back thousands of years. They see their ancestral land taken away to make way for multinational corporations, in their quest to create the new tuna capital of the world or the first special economic zone in the country.
Destruction of traditional fishing grounds, loss of bio-diversity, alienation of land, displacement of entire villages, sweatshop factories, sex-trade for fish and endemic corruption in government are the daily routine for the clans living next to the tuna project. Many have lost hope. Others are fighting for survival. What happens when people are told to trade their foundations of life for a few cents paid work on cannery floors to feed the world’s biggest export markets? How does a nation, which is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, deal with a resource curse? Why, in the most peaceful communities of Papua New Guinea, does conflict loom at every corner, in the shadows of a new Bougainville crisis?