This is the question one undoubtedly ask after reading about the movie ‘The End of the Line‘ which have is premiere this coming Monday. The movie is a actually a documentary on how we and our fellow humans evolved our methods of bringing fish and shellfish out of the oceans in the most cost-effective way, no matter the ecological impact on the world from which we borrow some time.
According to WWF the global fishing fleets is about 250% larger then the oceans can sustainably support and for a bystander, these numbers seem to tell us something. If we take out more then what can grow back from the oceans, will they actually run out?
“Can the sea really let us eat sushi in these numbers?” — Caroline Bennett, Founder, Moshi Moshi sushi chain
Oceans are vast and huge and seem to hold an unlimited amount of life but the fact is that they are limited. There is a set amount of live fish in the oceans at every given moment in time. Based on this number there is a set number of fish that can be reproduced each year. This is quite basic facts which most people agree on.
In a time where a growing number of people is in starvation and we have a financial problem on our hands we need to start looking on what the impact will be of our decisions. As of today we have have an enormous waste in our fishing fleets trying to find premium animals. While fishing tuna with long lines we get turtles, birds and sharks as waste. While fishing cod using trawl we get everything coming in our way together with the cod. All this so called waste is just dumped back into the ocean as garbage when it actually is a surplus of the oceans total amount of life which we just kill and drop back. The oceans can of course handle decomposing live matter as it is a part of the natural way but in the same time it can not handle tons after tons of the same fish killed and dumped right back. Species will become extinct, and they will become extinct soon.
This dumping of unwanted fish is never the less the only problem we have today. The greatest error of them all is that if we sum up what we take out of the waters it exceeds what can be reproduced. We are killing the oceans, and doing it fast and industrious.
“It is true that fishermen feel an almost desperate need to catch as many fish as they can when they’re allowed to. That sense of desperation … can’t be an excuse for the policymakers of the world and this country to allow that to cause the universal collapse of fisheries.” — James Greenwood, former US Congressman
So what can be done to halt this spiral of doom which we spin around in every day of our lives? As almost always when it come to ecology and people, all we have to do is become aware and to use our power as consumers. Avoid buying fish that is on the verge of being extinct and ask questions and raise the topic. And as always, if you can buy food produced nearby, it most likely is a good option.
Consumers have the power to change the market, we all just have to start asking questions.