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Where all the fish have gone May 13, 2008

Posted by Al in : food,politics,scary , trackback

It’s more doom and gloom, I’m afraid: and this is something close to my heart as I live by the sea and, although not an active angler any more, I have many friends who fish regularly, and all are reporting a scary lack of fish these days. When I was a child, bass and sewen were regular catches alongside braces of mackerel, whiting and pollock – now sewen is virtually non-existent, bass are smaller, mackerel shoals are smaller and made up of smaller fish, and pollock is a rarity. These are just a few of the coastal fish that are dwindling – move into deeper waters and cod, plaice, flounder and halibut are in short supply.

I see adverts on TV for John West salmon, showing that these are wild fish, caught in the ocean (although probably by a river mouth) and so cashing in on the “free range”/organic ethos so popular today. I’d much prefer to eat farmed sockeye salmon, and leave the wild stock to replenish itself and continue to lead a wild lifestyle. Farmed salmon may not be quite as muscular, as they don’t get the exercise, but this just means more omega-3 fats – which are good for you. I’d recommend eating more farmed fish, and even writing/emailing to large fish suppliers to let them know that you would like to eat from sustainable fish supplies, rather than depleting the already heavily hit wild stock that’s left in our oceans. This is an area where your choice can make a difference. There is very little difference between farmed and wild fish in taste or texture (despite what the adverts may say), but there is a huge difference in the impact on the world’s fish supplies in how they are brought to your table. If we all bought farmed fish only, then the mega-trawlers currently roaming (some might say raping) our seas would no longer be viable, and there might be a chance for the ocean’s biomass to recover. If we continue to fall for advertising, and buy wild stock (whether it’s caught on dolphin friendly long lines, or not). then we might reach a point where we have to rely on talapias and salmon for all our fish protein.

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