Our oceans were once healthy bodies of water teeming with an abundance of fish. However, there’s now a giant sucking sound in the oceans, and, unfortunately, that drain is our stomachs. Since we’re catching fish faster than they can reproduce, we’re nearly at the point of no-return for many fish populations. Our dinner table options are becoming slim: Most fish populations have been depleted by 70-95%. In the past 50 years, 90% of all large ocean predators, such as tuna, marlin, swordfish, sharks, cod and flounder have been killed due to overfishing.
Fish is the number one source of protein on the planet. Nearly three billion people worldwide rely on fish for food and that number is expected to increase by 10% in the next decade, which means an additional 11 million tons of fish will be required to feed everyone. The U.S. ranks third, after Japan and China, as the largest consumer of seafood worldwide.
Fishing has become an industry dominated by large corporationsthat use trawlers, which are nets that are several miles long to scoop up everything in their boat’s trail. What they don’t want, known as by-catch, is dumped back into the ocean. Unfortunately, in their quest for one type of fish, millions of others, such as turtles, sharks, dolphins and other unwanted fish die in these nets. For every four pounds of fish caught, one pound is thrown away. It is even worse for shrimp: for every pound caught, four pounds are by-catch.
The real possibility of oceans devoid of big fin sharks, tuna and countless other seafood and marine life is frightening. As a consumer, there’s much you can do to make the right choices to protect these species.
Turtles are as old as dinosaurs; they have been living on Earth for more than 100 million years.
Blue fin tuna can be up to 14 feet long, weigh over 1,000 pounds and be sold for as much as $180,000 each.
There are over 1,000 species of sharks and they have existed for over 400 million years. 20% are threatened with extinction.
An estimated 26-73 million sharks are killed for their fins annually.
Learn more about seafood options, including recommendations on what to buy or avoid.