Environment

Eco-article 2: “So long and ‘thanks’ for overfishing us to our extinction”

“So long, and thanks for all the fish”

Douglas Adams - So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

If Douglas Adams had written his book in recent years instead of in 1984, I highly doubt that the dolphins would have expressed their gratitude to us. We are now driving our fishes to their extinction by overfishing and thus, creating a domino-effect in the marine food webs.

Does that mean we have to stop eating fish? Well, we should definitely cut down our meat intake. But, those who still prefer fish in their diet, there are practical solutions.

With the variety of fish we can get from supermarkets, we, as consumers, can choose to avoid endangered species and eat farmed species. Conservation organizations such as the Marine Conservation Society in the United Kingdom and Forest and Bird in New Zealand have such lists available in their websites:

http://www.fishonline.org/advice/avoid/

http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/saving-our-environment/fish-species-ratings).

Among the fishes we have to refrain from eating are the Atlantic wild salmon, pelagic trawled seabrass, eels, all tuna species except for skipjack and yellowfin as well as swordfish. Fish we should avoid include exotic fishes such as sharks, whales, dolphins, seahorses and many more.

We also have to improve our fishing methods and carry out tougher regulations. Another viable method to overcome this major problem is sustainable farming. Here is a mild sampling of the fantastic online resources available about sustainable aquaculture.

TED talk: Dan Barber – How I fell in love with a fish.

College of Atlantic: Sustainable Food, Farming and Fisheries for the 21st century.

Overfishing is a problem we have to tackle with immediately. Fortunately, we can save these declining fish populations if we implement better agricultural and consumer practices. Unfortunately, we cannot save them if we continue our current rate of fishing and pushing our fish to the tipping point. After the tipping point, our fish has only one bleak, dark future left: Extinction.

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