How to Make Sustainable Seafood Choices at the Fish Market

By Carl Safina, "Sea Change," March/April 2010

The seafood we eat has an enormous impact on our health today and the health of our oceans tomorrow.

"Thanks for a great article. Sure hope lots and lots of people read it. I've been eating sardines all my life (am now 74) and doctors are always amazed at how good my good cholesterol is. I tell them it's all the sardines I've eaten -...

The dominoes often fall in unpredictable ways, upsetting the natural balance. As sharks off the East Coast have been fished down to low levels, the stingrays they used to eat have proliferated. So much so that the rays now demolish shellfish beds, putting some clammers out of business.

In the North Atlantic, commercially important fish like cod and halibut declined by two-thirds between 1950 and 2000. Atlantic cod had been a source of riches for 500 years, but in the early 1990s Canada’s cod fishery “collapsed” (declined more than 90 percent) due to overfishing, bringing long-term devastation to communities up and down the seaboard.

In 2006, an international team of scientists analyzing global fisheries data wrote in Science magazine, “Accelerating loss of populations and species... is increasingly impairing the ocean’s capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover.” They found that since 1950 about a third of all fished species worldwide have collapsed. They also noted that, at current rates, the rest would collapse by 2050.

Next: The Changing Ocean—Pollution, Climate Change and Coastal Development »

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