Campus Sustainability Office

Overfishing

Overfishing

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Seafood has always been a staple in diets around the world, but in the 20th century fish stocks around the world began to see massive declines. Advanced technology increased chances of finding fish even for those who were new to the task, and more powerful motors helped humans travel farther on the seas in less time than ever before. Fishing vessels from the minority world became common in waters far from their home countries, filling their holds with fish to take back to wealthy consumers back home. As the world population and standard of living have increased, so has demand, outpacing the replacement rate for many species, especially large fish like tuna. With the FDA and other agencies recommending more fish or oil supplements as part of a healthy diet, demand has increased even more.

Besides the direct effect of such large harvests, the ocean has suffered additional side effects from overfishing. Many fishing methods produce huge amounts of wasteful bycatch, harming already vulnerable and usually keystone species like sharks, dolphins, and turtles. 

Does this mean we can never again eat fish in good conscience? Not necessarily. There are more sustainable ways to get your seafood fix, even an app that you can download for smartphones to help you make decisions on-the-go. Visit The Marine Stewardship Council to learn more and look for their seal at major retailers to help you make better choices.


(Dan Barber at TED2010 tells a story about a fish that changed his perspective on seafood. http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish)

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