Nov 18 2008

The Dying Seas – Our Imperiled Fisheries

Published by at 10:06 am under Environment,Oceans

Our seas have been dying, for a long time. 90% of the world’s fisheries are imperiled, and things are only going to get worse. Though seemingly innocuous, farm-raised fish are often one of the worst environmental offenders (story in NYT). Wild-caught tuna fisheries are one of the most imperiled, but the ubiquitous sushi delight harbors consumer dangers with often toxic mercury levels (article). The picture is bleak, but there are relatively simple steps consumers can take to influence the market. This article outlines some of the scary facts about fisheries as well as the simple steps consumers can take.

Here are some quotes from the article:

  • “One study, in 2006, concluded that if current fishing practices continue, the world’s major commercial stocks will collapse by 2048.”
  • “Nearly one-third of the world’s wild-caught fish are reduced to fish meal and fed to farmed fish and cattle and pigs.”
  • “Why bother with farm-raised salmon and its relatives? If the world’s wealthier fish-eaters began to appreciate wild sardines, anchovies, herring and the like, we would be less inclined to feed them to salmon raised in fish farms. And we’d be helping restock the seas with larger species.”
  • “The message is optimism,” said David Festa, who directs the oceans program at the Environmental Defense Fund. “The latest data shows that well-managed fisheries are doing incredibly well. When we get the rules right the fisheries can recover, and if they’re not recovering, it means we have the rules wrong.”
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