We depend on the ocean not only for food and to sustain our livelihoods, but also for the oxygen we breath and require for survival. Before humans existed, before the first vertebrates ever stepped foot on land, life existed in the ocean. Sharks have survived for 450 million years, 449,800,000 years before the first human ever walked the earth. Within the last 50 years, we have managed to decimate as many as 90% of shark populations, bringing many species to the brink of extinction. If we continue to overexploit and pollute the ocean at this current rate we will be faced with the extinction of many species and the devastating effects of collapsing marine ecosystems.
Within the last four decades fish consumption worldwide has been on the rise. In 2010 128 million tonnes of fish was utilized for human consumption. China has contributed the most to this increase, accounting for 42.6 million tonnes. About 85% of the world’s fisheries have been pushed to or beyond biological limits. Atlantic bluefin tuna have been overexploited to the point where they now face possible species extinction.
If those startling statistics don’t keep you from ordering seafood tonight for dinner, take a look at this: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp (Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish)
Many popular fish species utilized for consumption are actually quite bad for you. The top predators in the ocean such as: shark, marlin, tuna, and swordfish contain high quantities of mercury and are being fished in environmentally destructive ways. Methods such as long-lining and bottom trawling are detrimental to the marine ecosystem. For example, long-line fishermen here in Guanacaste, catch more Olive Ridley sea turtles than their target species of mahi mahi
If you can’t give up fish, find out where it comes from. Farmed fish contains PCB’s and other chemicals that can create long-term health effects. Choose species with low mercury contamination. Most importantly, eat fish that only comes from recognized sustainable fisheries.
If you would like to learn more about the current state of fisheries around the world, I highly recommend watching the following documentaries: The End of the Line, Sharkwater, and, Empty Oceans, Empty Nets.
Thank you for reading, by doing so you are helping to spread the word, “Fish are friends, not Food”.
Facts and figgure from : http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e01.pdf