The last fish in the pan

“This is a tremendous animation to generically depict the current plight of our Oceans, and I thoroughly recommend that you all view it. However, there are a few points that need some further comment, for your consideration.

1. The trawling animation is of “mid water” trawling – which is abhorrent …. But the majority of trawling and dredging of seafood is via dragging heavy nets and steel structures along the sea bed …. then abhorrent morphs into complete Armageddon !!
2. The comment “low value small fish” [used when describing the 5:1 wild fish to aquaculture food exchange], is in fact incorrect. When properly caught and treated this fish [eg. Jack Mackerel] is actually worth as much as , or even more than the fish that they are being fed to ! Hence, fiscally – a 5:1 “devalue … or write down” of a resource …. Let alone the pressure that this puts on the wild stocks’ food chain ??
3. The E.U. openly subsidize their fishing fleets [that have already depleted their own fisheries such that they cannot support their effort] to roam the globe and plunder other fisheries.
4. The Bluefin Tuna comments are very disturbing [globally] … although it must be said that our Southern Bluefin Tuna stocks here in Australia, are very well managed, and we see more and more fish every year. It is widely acknowledged as being the best managed fishery in the world.

Of course, Industrial scale fishery participants / Administrators and Governments are responsible for these atrocities ….. but so are you the consumer. Every time that you buy [or demand] “cheap fish specials” from your local fishmonger … or refuse to pay an equivalent price [in comparison to other top end proteins on a restaurant menu] – because “it’s just fish, mate” …. then you are aiding and abetting these mass catch, industrial fishing operators. Yes, our current dilemma has been in fact, consumer driven – via incessant demands for “cheap fish” !!
The solution does involve the lobbying of all concerned … but it will also involve we, the consumers in being realistic in our desire for sustainable and ethically caught seafood … we must be prepared to pay a premium for a sustainably caught, premium product. I am sure that most industry participants would be more than happy to scale back to specialized techniques that have a zero footprint … and no doubt, an associated reduction to 20 or 30% of their current catch. The key is of course that we as the consumer need to acknowledge that … we will have to pay 2 or even 3 times current prices – the advantage is not only sustainability, it will also be healthier, fresher and taste better !! We will also have to scale back on our expected portion size … 100 to 120g [a typical restaurant sized portion] … instead of a full fillet. … and, YES, accept that premium seafood IS of the same “value” as the likes of Wagyu Beef or Truffles.
Yes, we do need Aquaculture for the future … but to be sustainable, they are going to have to grow their own food source, and have zero reliance on wild stocks … very easily done, but once again, expensive. The same scenario will apply here … WE, the consumer are going to have to give up the expectation of $20 Salmon .. and be prepared to pay $40 or even $50 for genuine sustainably raised product.
I would like to close with my favourite saying “Cheap Fish ….. at what cost to the Planet ??”.
Enjoy the Animation.
Mark Eather