How Fisheries Can Gain From The Lessons of Sustainable Food

As agriculture and energy production have made strides toward becoming more sustainable, the world’s fisheries have lagged behind. But restoring our beleaguered oceans to health will require an emphasis on diversification and conservation — and a more sensible mix of fishing practices.
By John Waldman (iLAND Board Member)

In The Dark, Blue Sea, Lord Byron famously stated, “Man marks the earth with ruin, his control stops with the shore.” That in 1812 the land side of the shore was already being compromised was not in doubt. But two subsequent centuries of misuse have demonstrated just how mistaken he was about the inviolability of the oceans. Man’s control beyond the shore today is not complete, but it is profound. The sea’s noteworthy denizens — its finfish and shellfish, always major food sources — have felt this control through overharvesting and habitat destruction, so that today many species are in sharp decline or at perilous levels.

Two hundred years of marine environmental degradation have coincided with evolutionary trends in the public’s relations with seafood. In the U.S., much of the fish the average person now eats is made up of a handful of species captured by factory ships that turn their catch into processed fish sticks and other mass-produced forms of convenience; the end product of such corporate fisheries seems far removed from a sleek, scaly creature with fins.Read more…

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