Earth Day Tip #9: Fish, A Lesson from Jeremy Piven

Okay, this really has nothing to do with Jeremy Piven (are you happy Kristin?) but that was all I could think of as a title for this blog.

In all reality, global fishing is being done at an extremely unsustainable rate, meaning that humans are taking more fish out of the oceans than can be replaced by the ones left. Almost 90% of all the ocean’s large fish has been fished out and several major commercial fish populations’ survival are being threatened. Scientists estimate that, unless current fishing practices improve, all stocks of currently fished species will collapse by 2048! That is in our lifetime.

Add pollution in our oceans, high levels of mercury in our fish and we’ve got a major problem on our hands. The hazards of long-line fishing are also depleting marine life as well. Sea turtles and sea birds, including an estimated 100,000 albatrosses, are killed as the unnecessary result of bycatch from long-lines. Sea turtles are near extinction and 19 out of 21 albatross species are threatened, yet nothing is being done to stop long-line fishing.

Given the current system in place that brings me fish from the oceans, I have chosen to refrain from eating fish, particularly fish that are precariously on the brink of extinction and those that are being fished in unsustainable and environmentally detrimental ways, as much as possible.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up fish to help save our oceans. It will certainly help though and I would encourage you to think twice the next time you want to order fish. If you want to continue to enjoy fish, just be thoughtful about it. Here’s a great site from the Environmental Defense Fund to help you make smarter fish choices for your own health and for the environment.

A good documentary to watch about the fishing industry and long-line fishing is “Shark Water.” Great cinematography and underwater footage. It absolutely took my breath away!

© Connie Hum 2009

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