Are Wild Fish Threatened?

Ellen Haas Health Guide
  • There is widespread agreement among those of us who love good food that wild fish has a superior taste and makes a much more delicious meal. But sadly the numbers of these fish caught in the wild are declining in numbers because of over fishing and environmental pollution of our waters.

     

    Recently I have been surprised and disappointed to find that when I was in a Florida restaurant that there was no grouper - but there was a farm raised fish from Vietnam. Or when I was up in New England and there wasn't any cod or haddock on the menu, but they had farm raised salmon from Chile.

     

    Overfishing has become a growing problem over the past decades. This means that it takes more money and energy to catch the same amount of fish - approximately 85 million tons a year. Given the rising demand for good fish this number remains stagnant.

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    One study reported in the New York Times concluded the world's major commercial stocks will collapse by 2048 if current fishing practices continue. For example, in the Mediterranean, the bluefin tuna population has been seriously depleted. Here in the United States, cod numbers are in dramatic decline. Cod is one of my favorite fish and it would be a shame to lose it.

     

    According to Mark Bittman, columnist for the New York Times, we can turn around this situation if fisheries were managed well. And it would help even more if we fish-eaters ate a little more fish like mackerel, sardines and anchovies.

     

    But these smaller fish are also under apparent siege. The so-called forage fish like herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are used by the agriculture and aquaculture industries. They are reduced to fish meal and fed to farmed fish and cattle and pigs.

    But sadly, Mark Bittman says, "Edible food is being used to grow animals rather than nourish people."

     

    We need to focus our attention on limiting fishing and also begin to appreciate wild sardines, anchovies, herring and other small fish. Then we have a shot at a future of sustainable fishery of large wild fish together with the value of smaller wild fish.

     

    This sounds like a good strategy to me. What are you doing to buy sustainable fish?

    What are your favorite tasting wild fish you enjoy?

     

    Here are two delicious fish recipes from Ellen's Healthy Table and together we can support sustainable seafood for our future:

Published On: December 03, 2008