Yes! The healthy option, everyone know it’s good to get a bit of fish in the belly to improve your skin, blood-flow and the like. So what’s the problem here then?
Overfishing is the problem. Now that we have expanded human knowledge of marine ecosystems we can see that by certain of our actions we are depleting stocks of fish in some areas in a way that is unsustainable. An example of this is the situation faced by the fishermen of Newfoundland in 1992. The Canadian Grand Banks, then one of the richest natural resources was farmed beyond repair. Almost overnight the cod stocks disappeared. Why was this the case? Well, with the advancement of fishing technology, it became easier to target and catch fish, and so this meant that fishermen had to have bigger boats to catch more fish – so with all of this in mind it is little wonder that by reducing the odds of catching the fish and enlarging the capacity for fishing the fishery in that area completely died out. 40,000 people lost their jobs, but more importantly, the fish stocks in that area remain devastated.
We cannot simply blame bad fishing practices, however. The fish was being caught to meet a market which allowed fishing of endangered species and is very short-sighted in nature. If something’s ok for today, tomorrow and next week, that’s fine – problems that might surface in five, ten years’ time aren’t ours to worry about. That’s the sort of greedy attitude which causes these sorts of problems. In fact, while I shall avoid a diatribe aimed at greed, I will point out that most of the world’s problems are linked to it – the love of money really is the root of all evil – all the bad things in the world that we see stem from this greed to have more than the next person.
The argument often put forward by the fishing industry is that if we reduce quotas then they will be without jobs or their livelihoods will suffer. This is again the product of greed and short-sightedness. If current fishing levels are allowed to continue or perhaps rise, then we will soon have depleted world fishing stocks and have to return to biting our fingernails for nutrition. But the situation of the fish isn’t just about what we have to eat. The fish we catch are part of a delicate balance of the ecosystem; remove the prey of one particular type of sea predator and they will have to find another way to survive or they too will die off.
This of course is not to target all fisherman. We aim our consternation at the big fishing corporations, not the little one-boat fisherman from Iceland who is part of a small community that actually depends for its day-to-day existence upon the industry. They, unfortunately, will be squeezed further and further out of the market by the large operators with their fleets of fishing boats.
What can you do?
Once again as with all consumable products, you can only act by speaking with your money – if you demand fish from sustainable and well-managed stocks to help safeguard the world’s seafood supply you can help to reverse the trend that has seen vast quantities of previously healthy fish stocks dwindle into nothingness.