World’s fisheries are having a huge impact on our environment and mankind in general. Bycatch, overfishing, destruction of the habitat are a few examples of the effects of modern fishery politics.
Most fishing methods are inefficient in a way we wouldn’t accept on land. It results in bycatch of other species (e.g. wild shrimp fisheries have bycatches sometimes up to 95%), destruction of sea habitats (large nets being pulled over the ocean floor destroying e.g. deep sea reefs), and overfishing popular species (of all fish stocks worldwide 90% is overfished). And do we know how much CO2 is used to catch a kilo of fish?
If we want to give the ocean’s fish stocks a chance to survive, we urgently will have to decrease the fishing pressure. Some species will need years to recuperate, for some species fishing is not acceptable anymore for an indefinite period of time.
For most fish we eat unfortunately this is not a solution. The fish we farm are mostly predator fish (e.g. salmon, tuna) that need wild fish to grow. And have you ever seen a fish farm? It’s often worse than industrial chicken farms and they pollute the area heavily. Read Farmed fish is not the alternative
Consume specific species that are not overfished?
First of all, shifting to other species means they will be overfished too in the end. In general the ocean’s don’t have the capacity to keep up with our actual consumption levels. And secondly, this doesn’t solve the problem of bycatch.
Eating less fish?
Yes, very good idea. Stop eating fish at all, even better. Give the oceans rest till we find a solution.
The way we are abusing the oceans will lead to the destruction of most sea life and researchers state that only a few species will survive. This seems unbelievable but if we consider that for instance fishing on sharks during the last 20 years has led to 80% decline of the species, we understand that the influence of fisheries is excessive. A moratorium on eating fish or at least most fish species will become essential.
But I need my fish, don’t I?
A frequently heard phrase is ’I don’t eat meat, but I do eat fish’, presuming a healthy living. But is fish healthy?
Unfortunately for the fish eater, this is not entirely true. A lot of fish we eat (especially the carnivourous fish that are high in the food chain and often on our menu) contain heavy metals in large quantities and PCB’s, causing cancer. If we eat more than 2 ’fat’ fish every week, we exceed the toxicological accepted limits of these substances. Fish oil makes no difference (note: to make 1 litre fish oil, 20 kg fish is needed).
An important reason why fish is healthy is the fact that it contains the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. However, fish does not make these acids itself but receives it from the algae it eats. These algae are available in eco-supermarkets or on the internet e.g Amanprana-Okinawa-Omega 3,6,7,9 (Noble House). There is also a lot of other healthy food that contains Omega-3 and/or Omega-6.
We have become ever more conscious about what we eat, organic food is available in abundance and the media has a lot of attention for ecologically irresponsible production methods. However, the fishing industry is covered with a veil of silence and do we really care what happens under water?
It starts with us, the consumer. We have to change our own ways and give a signal to the government and business world that enough is enough. Governments should decrease the subsidies for fisheries and install a eco-tax. If fish gets more expensive, and it will without the subsidies and with eco-tax, less fish will be consumed.
Mankind would improve its environment but also its health by eating less fish and getting the essential fatty acids directly from eating algae oils.
And if you persist to eat fish, fish guides for your area can help selecting the ecological better and more durable caught fish. read Eat no fish (or eat less fish).