I was surprised the other day to read this news item: Seafood Stocks Running Out, Says Study:
There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.
Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.
My surprise was that fish stocks would last as long as that. Earlier this year we started eating a bit more fish and a bit less meat, but after seeing the Best Fish Guide we had problems with that:
The Best Fish Guide 05-06 is the first independent ecological guide to rank New Zealand’s commercial fisheries
As informed consumers we expect our seafood to come from ecologically sustainable fisheries. The Best Fish Guide profiles 68 commercial fisheries, guiding consumers towards the best choices according to their ecological ranking. These take into account the state of fish stocks, the amount of seabird, marine mammal and non-target fish bycatch, the damage done to marine habitats and other ecological effects caused by the fishing.
The guide groups fish into three categories: green, orange and red. Red is the worst choice, reflecting overfishing, high by-catch and poor stock management, while amber gives concern. The green category is for well-managed stock, with low levels of by-catch and habitat damage.
The problem is that the green column is totally empty. The best choice for us consumers are those fish that come from the ‘of concern’ category.
Now Forest and Bird have weighed in on the estimate:
The conservation group Forest and Bird says predictions that world fish stocks will dry up by the middle of the century could be optimistic.
… the conservation manager for Forest and Bird, Kevin Hackwell, says the demise of New Zealand’s one-point-two-billion-dollar fishing industry could happen sooner.
Mr Hackwell says he thinks careful management of even the most lucrative fishing stocks is lacking.
Meanwhile, the lead author of the study into global fish stocks … says the nature of commercial fishing means it is inevitable the world’s fish supplies will be exhausted.