Due to the popularity and high demand for seafood it is inevitable that there will be an end, the levels of fishing that take place today cannot continue forever, and there are many global problems that will change the landscape of seafood for the worse. All of the issues analysed below have led research to believe that we could reach a global seafood crisis – as in no fish available at all – by only 2048! It is abundantly clear that the state and future of seafood will alter dramatically over the next few decades unless real change can be implemented.
The Sustainability of Seafood
Overfishing is a real problem and has been for many centuries, but it is only within the last three decades that the issue has been brought to light and people made aware of the severity and impact that overfishing is having on the world. The practice essentially means that a particular species is fished at a rate faster than their natural reproduction, so if that rate continued then that particular species would become extinct. Unfortunately, mankind has become so reliant on fish as a high source of protein and nutrition that the demand is always rising, making the practice of fishing very profitable for huge corporations, therefore more must be done about making people more aware of sustainable seafood, and the benefits that seeking out this product has. The Marine Conversation Society works very hard to ensure the longevity of our ocean life and have a simple tool on their site which enables the user to check on the sustainability level of a fish, rated green as good, through to red as bad. You can view their descriptions, ratings – and reasons for ratings – for 158 different species of fish on the website which they hope will help people make the choice about which fish they should purchase. These ratings are also used by the industry, restaurants and supermarkets, as these will be the key decision makers who can make a real difference. They have done research to analyse the packaging of all fish fingers to test how they are conveying the sustainability of their fish, with the following results:
Overfishing is not the only contributor to this major issue, global warming has led to an increase in the ocean’s average temperature – with no signs of slowing down, this has and will continue to have a massive impact on the sea life inhabiting these oceans. Another contributing factor is yet another man-made problem, and that is recycling, for years human-kind have dumped plastic and other non-bio-degradable materials into the ocean to the detriment of sea life. There are global initiatives in place, but many believe that the damage caused is already too great and we will never get the oceans back to their ideal state.
Finally, rising global population is one more point that has a clear impact on seafood. Quite simply, with more mouths to feed there will be less food to go around, unless efforts are made to look for other sources of nutrition. As many developing countries rely on seafood as a major source of protein and nutrition it is important that the first world countries take the responsibility and bring a solution that will create a world of sustainable sea food, with the food available to those who need it most.