Global Fish Crisis | Still Waters, National Geographic Magazine

The diversion of low-value fish from the mouths of people in developing countries into the mouths of well-fed fish in the developed world… is obscenity on an imperial Roman scale. —Charles Clover

For one billion people, mostly poor, fish is the only source of protein.Pressures from the fishing industry place the estimate for empty oceans in the year 2048. According to England’s Royal Commission on Environment, the collapse of the world’s fisheries is the greatest environmental challenge facing the human race after global warming.

In 1995, a National Geographic article entitled “Diminishing Returns” warned that, “The next ten years are going to be very painful, full of upheaval for everyone connected to the sea.”  The cod fishery in Newfoundland was on “the verge of …

Global Fish Crisis | Still Waters, National Geographic Magazine

The diversion of low-value fish from the mouths of people in developing countries into the mouths of well-fed fish in the developed world… is obscenity on an imperial Roman scale. —Charles Clover

For one billion people, mostly poor, fish is the only source of protein.Pressures from the fishing industry place the estimate for empty oceans in the year 2048. According to England’s Royal Commission on Environment, the collapse of the world’s fisheries is the greatest environmental challenge facing the human race after global warming.

In 1995, a National Geographic article entitled “Diminishing Returns” warned that, “The next ten years are going to be very painful, full of upheaval for everyone connected to the sea.”  The cod fishery in Newfoundland was on “the verge of collapse.” And Senegalese politicians were selling off fishing rights to the EU at the expense of their artisanal fishermen.

The brewing storm in 1995 is no longer on the horizon.  Cod fishing has collapsed off Newfoundland, never to return. Fifty percent more fishermen in Senegal now have to travel 600km to find fish instead of the 200km it took in 1995. And, more importantly, there have been an additional ten years of trawlers strip-mining Africa’s waters. As a result, according to Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, fisheries along the West African coast are in collapse.

The decline of available fish is so severe that Africans in coastal areas are forced to look for protein elsewhere. This means going deeper and deeper into the forests for bush meat, which has led to the extinction of almost half the species in some animal reserves in Ghana.

Fresh and frozen fish remain in ample supply in grocery stores, markets, and restaurants in First World countries, where nutrition experts routinely encourage everyone to eat more fish. We do this to make sure we get enough Omega-3 fatty acids, despite the decimation of these resources, and oblivious to the suffering and desperate circumstances of so many who rely on fish as their only protein.

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Drying Fish With a View of the Ocean Swim Across the Sahara Drying Fish Where the Sahara Meets the Sea | St. Louis Senegal Drying Fish Where the Sahara Meets the Sea | Senegal, Africa Tide of Protein Drying in the Sahara | Senegal Selling fish carcasses in Tanzania | Africans are Left With the Bones Fishermen With Their Catch | Given to EU Freezer Trucks in Background Fishermen in Senegal Bring their Catch to Freezer Trucks to go to EU Saint Louis, Senegal Squatter Town Next to Fishing Boats on Ocean Africans Look to the Sea for Protein | Karountine, Senegal Africans Move to Coast for Less and Less Protein Fish Clog Nets on EU Factory Trawler | Senegal Sorting Fish on EU Factory Trawler | Senegal EU Worker Cuts Shark Fins on Factory Ship in Senegal European Union Trawler Ship in Senegalese Waters Fishing Trawler, Port of Dakar | Senegal Coelacanths | Bridge the Gap to First Mammals to Walk on Land Fish Traps Used by Artisanal Tanzanian Fishermen | Tanga African Workers Process Cuttlefish in European Factory | Dakar African Workers Process Shrimp in European Factory | Dakar, Senegal Aquarium With Live Reef Fish in Chinese Restaurant Live Reef Fish Restaurant in Guangzhou, China Shark Fins for Sale in Indonesia Indonesian Community of Live Reef Fish Divers Holding Cages for LIve Reef Fish Trade – Destined for China Live Reef Fish in Indonesia Stripped for Restaurants in China Live Reef Fish Divers | Indonesia Swordfish tossed aside in a market in the town of Zhapo China Waterside Reef Fish Salesman | Hong Kong, China Jellyfish Fishery along China’s South Coast Fishing down the food chain | jellyfish is a delicacy to the Chinese Zhapo China’s Jellyfish Fishery Fisherwoman with cart full of tuna just off the boats in Zhapo, China Polish Worker Hanging Cod heads in Geothermal Area | Iceland Lobster Bib in Seafood Restaurant in Galicia, Spain Shark in Vigo, Spain Fish Market Vigo Worker Hauling Swordfish in Northern Spain Fish Market Swordfish in Vigo Port Fish Market | Burela, Spain Spanish Family has Paella dinner in Vigo Europe Gets Protein, Africans Get Rotting Fish Bones | Lake Victoria Senegalese Artisanal Fishermen Miles out to Sea in Pirogues Indus Valley Fisherman | Harappa, Pakistan
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