“The Political Fish Caught in the Net”

The ocean is being over fished.

This is a statement.  Earth’s inhabitants are commercially fishing the ocean at a rate that is killing it: fish are not being given enough time to reach sexual maturity, and are not reproducing, large areas are being sweeped clean, and it’s not going to come back on its own.

“Hong Kong has the highest per capita of seafood consumption in the world, according to research done by Yvonne Sadovy, a marine biologist at the University of Hong Kong.  And while Hong Kong residents love their fish, they’re seemingly unaware that the harvest of their favorite food has stressed the oceans and communities from as far as Indonesia, where the fishes are caught using cyanide, she said. ”

I’m quoting from a very telling article called “China, the Rest of the World, and the Political Fish caught in the net“.  Hong Kong is a great example of an Island that eats a lot of fish, and doesn’t understand the cost of the consumption, but it’s not an isolated example. While the US and other countries eat a lot of fish,  Asia is wildly enamored with sea food, including reef fish, which are difficult to harvest sustainably (and taste differently when farm raised…)

“As the Chinese middle class grows, the demand for various seafood will increase. And the soaring demand for seafood has made fish, more than any other food source in Asia, political. The Chinese appetite for seafood, particularly live reef food fish, is an overlooked aspect in the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the main source of seafood for mainland China.”

Read the news and you will notice that China has stepped up its fight  to claim islands that Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines also claim.  There are multiple reasons that acquiring these islands would be beneficial, but seafood is playing a big role.  Big countries are starting to sea the ocean as a pie, and they are trying to get the biggest slice of it, before the pie all gone.

“It’s unlikely that the dispute over the islands here in East and Southeast Asia will be resolved any time soon, and of course, human appetite for fish is not restricted to the Chinese, alone. Overfishing is a global phenomena.”

The Short Term answer to sustain a growing appetite for seafood is to lay claim to larger territories. Fish all the fish, and when they are gone, they are gone forever.  The ocean dies, and with it, it’s ability to soak up green house gases, and show the future what a wondrous amazing world it is.


The long-term answer is to actually…..fish smaller areas, with smaller ships, and smaller byproduct.  Imagine, each fish being caught intentionally, and nothing caught on accident.  Imagine, making sure smaller fish get tossed back to grow and reproduce. Have you heard of the term crop rotation? Perhaps it can be applied to certain areas of the ocean: allowing large portions to remain untouched for years while they repair themselves.  Consider the immediate, visible benefits of the Marine Protected Areas.

“The Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that over 70 percent of our planet’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted, caused primarily by unsustainable fishing techniques. At current rates, which are four times higher than they were 40 years ago, oceans are cleared twice as fast as forests.”-Super Green Me

Unfortunately, change is slow to take effect and there is little legal repercussion for people who break what little law has been written.  But in each person, and in each generation, and in each consumer, there is the possibility for hope to  make a change, and change to cause more hope.

my, my, what a few years difference makes. Photo from http://www.theblackfish.org/

eatgreen. never eat bluefin tuna MERBABE OUT.

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