You have probably heard the concern already: there just aren’t enough fish to go around. That is, unless we change our current practices. Right now, almost two hundred billion pounds of wildlife are fished from the sea per year. Scientists fear that this high demand for seafood may lead to the collapse of our world fisheries in the near future if our current fishing rate continues.
One example of an overfished species is the Bluefin tuna- known for being large and delicious, and commonly eaten as sushi. Demand for this particular fish has resulted in high market prices and has threatened its population. One source estimates that the spawning population of Bluefin tuna is fewer than 30% of what its population was in 1970.
Of course, there are ways to keep fish off the endangered species list!
First off, new sustainable fishing methods can be employed. The biggest problem is overfishing, so by regulating and enforcing healthy replenishment of fish populations these species will be able to re-populate themselves. Part of this solution would be to stop targeting spawning areas so that young fish have time to grow and reproduce. To reduce by catch, hook-and-line, cast nets, and spearfishing could be used instead of modern nets and traps. Enforcing netting regulations would also aid in decreasing by catch.
Not only fisherman and governments play a role in reducing overfishing. As consumers, we have a wide array of choices when it comes to our food. By choosing seafood from well-managed, sustainable fisheries, we can protect the livelihood of fish species around the world. There are seafood guides online that list the endangered fish species that you should stay away from as well as ranking the most sustainable fish choices. They can even be printed and taken to grocery stores and restaurants, like this one here.
^Look for this logo, which certifies that the fish product comes from a sustainable fishery!
So before you eat that tuna roll, check to make sure your choice isn’t putting the future of seafood at stake.