Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Turning the Tide on Over Fishing

We all know that seafood is really good for us. It provides all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies require for growth and maintenance, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent debilitating diseases like arthritis.

Growing up I was told that fish is good for the brain. But with 29 percent of the world’s oceans now exploited beyond capacity, we have not been very smart when it comes to catching this vital food source. Or ethical either. And what about the mercury levels in fish such a tuna thanks to the run off of industrial waste?

A 2006 study published in the journal Science reports that if current fishing practices are to continue, global fish stocks will collapse by 2048. This crisis is partly due to the unholy practice of bottom trawling which destroys ecosystems at oceans floors. On the bright and encouraging side, the study informs that stocks will rebound if we fish more sustainably. But we must move promptly.

Governments need to work together to support sustainable fishing practices. For more on this visit the Suzuki Foundation’s Sustainable Fisheries page.

But what can you and I do? The following is a guide on what fish to eat and what to avoid, based on sustainable practices and toxicity. It’s endorsed by the Sierra Club, David Suzuki Foundation, CPAWS, Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans.

Canada's Seafood Guide

For additional information, visit the Sea Choice website.

We can also let our federal rep and the Minister of Fisheries know how we feel on this issue. Click here to voice your concern.

Problems with Farmed Fishing
It seems like a great solution to over fishing. Why not farm fish? It turns out that farmed fishing too has its toll on the environment. These farms, owned by multinationals, pollute the surrounding environment, and sea lice from the farmed salmon and the farmed salmon themselves escape, causing havoc among their wild counterparts. As if this were not enough, farmed fish dine on fish pellets thus contributing to the depletion of other species from around the word. For more visit the Suzuki Foundation.

Farmed muscles, clams and oysters are the exception, however. Please refer to the Seafood Guide which informs what farmed seafood to eat.

The New York Times recently ran a serious of articles and editorials on our oceans in peril:

Until All the Fish Are Gone

New Hope for Species Depleted by Over fishing

Record Catch Of Lobsters Raises Fears Of Over fishing

High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi

Europe Takes Africa’s Fish, and Boatloads of Migrants Follow

Study Finds Shark Over fishing May Lower Scallop Population

In the News

Closing the Barn Door After the Cows Have Gotten Out
Great New York Times editorial on the dead end choice of cloning farm animals.

Abu Dhabi to invest $15bn for green energy

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