As the global population continues to increase and more people are becoming aware that fish is a healthful source of protein, demand for seafood is growing rapidly. Too rapidly, in fact. Seafood consumption worldwide has doubled since 1973 and marine scientists predict that by 2020, there will be an additional need for 32 million tons (1). This tremendous increase in seafood consumption coupled with industrial fishing methods that damage the oceans’ ecosystem has placed major stress on our oceans. At this rate, all commercially fished wild seafood will be wiped out by 2050 unless we change our ways (2).
Why are many industrial fishing methods so harmful to our oceans? Because they focus on maximizing the number of fish caught regardless of long-term consequences; in other words, current fishing methods are not sustainable. Sustainable seafood is defined by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program as “seafood from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can exist into the long-term without compromising species’ survival or the integrity of the surrounding ecosystem.”
The consequences of the unsustainable fishing methods used today, including overfishing, bycatch, habitat destruction and other harmful activities, are putting many fish populations at risk. Click on the various issues below to learn more.
Can we really count on there being “more fish in the sea”?
Who are the innocent victims of industrial marine fishing?
Are we permanently destroying the ocean floors?
Old MacDonald had a farm. And on this farm he had a…salmon?
Which fish species are unsafe to eat?
1. Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Program. www.seafoodwatch.org. Accessed March 16, 2007.
2. Stokstad E. Global Loss of Biodiversity Harming Ocean Bounty. 3 Nov 2006, Science 314 (5800):745.