That Time 'Jurassic Park' Almost Drove A Species To Extinction

Fictional lunches shouldn't lead to real global destruction.
That Time 'Jurassic Park' Almost Drove A Species To Extinction

You’re surely familiar with Jurassic Park, one of those dinosaur movies from 1993 that came out around the better-known REX Kyoryu Monogatari. Well, like Jaws creating a fear of the beach, or Finding Nemo creating an insane demand for clownfish, Jurassic Park created its own demand for a specific, real-life wild animal. No, not shirtless Jeff Goldblum; we mean the Chilean sea bass. Indeed, remember when the gang is having lunch and waxing philosophic about the very concept of a park of cloned dinosaurs? Well, after the movie came out, the demand for the Chilean sea bass exploded and almost made the species disappear.

Okay, yeah, so the plate Hammond invites his guest to eat is, in effect, Chilean sea bass. The movie shows it and all. 

Yet the fish wasn’t even that popular back then. In fact, it isn't Chilean, and it isn’t even a bass. Now, listen, Chile is like the coolest country right now, but although the fish was indeed first described there, this isn’t something it can be really proud of–like its military dictatorship or its cheesy 90s boy bands. In a similar vein, back in the early '90s ‘Chilean sea bass’ was actually the commercial name of the Patagonian toothfish (later also that of the Antarctic toothfish), which is a fish living in really deep environments that are – like your ex’s heart when she’s asked about you – really, really cold.

So what happened here? Is it all a conspiracy by Big Movie to make kids buy dinosaur toys and their parents buy gourmet fish? Yes. Did Spielberg just add that plate in the movie in a plan to endanger a species out of his psychopathic hatred of everything living and breathing? The name ‘Chilean sea bass’ was actually made up by a fish wholesaler back in 1977 and only formally accepted by the FDA as a market name in 1994. One year after audiences all over the world were astonished by the groundbreaking visual creativity of the movie that made dinosaur horror a cinematic experience:

God, what a thrill ride.

So like Elon Musk’s ‘visionary’ status or Jordan Peterson’s ‘intelligence,’ the Chilean sea bass is but a pure marketing invention. And then, Jurassic Park indeed almost drove it to extinction, as was already being reported by 2002. This meant both legal and illegal overfishing had to be contained. Thus, first in California and then expanding all over the world, the ‘Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass’ campaign began, back in the Before Times when nobody would complain that massive environmentalist campaigns were some Marxist ploy to make sea bass take away our guns or whatever. 

The point is: the campaign kinda worked, and by now the sea bass is no longer in danger of disappearing. Which is a good thing: first, because against the widespread opinion of billionaires and oil executives, life rocks, and second, because Jurassic Park didn’t deserve to have this staining its legacy. It was a good movie, after all. I mean it was no Prehysteria!, but sure.

Top Image: Universal Pictures


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