Sylvia Earle Says "Stop Eating Fish"

Comments

1
Awesome. I'm always bewildered by "pescatarians," who claim to be vegetarian but still eat the worst kind of meat for the environment.
2
I only eat sea kittens nowadays.
3

No one can hear the tears of a clown fish.

4
Aaaaugh. I will miss my scallops in brown butter.
5
I'm eating sushi as I'm reading this. I'm planning on eating a ton of fish in the next ten years. After that, when the oceans no longer support life, I'll hopefully only be in the mood for chicken.
6
A lot of seafood is made by 'farms' not pulled out of the ocean.
7
I guess I'll go back to whales then.
8
What?! Now FISH is the worst meat for the environment? What the hell?! Why does the Monterey Bay Aquarium even put out that list of sustainably managed and harvested fish that are supposedly fine to eat?

Arrrrgh!
9
I beg to differ with her. http://www.msc.org/
10
Fish is way too expensive anyways. $15-20/lb.? No, thank you.
11
@1, I'm not sure how exactly you can justify all fish as "the worst kind of meat for the environment"

Alaska is home to the world's largest, certified sustainable, sockeye salmon fishery. Blanket statements like "don't eat fish" do nothing to address the reality of modern fisheries -- either those who play by the rules or those who don't.
12
It's OK to eat fish because they don't have any feelings.
13
@6 - Those farms are bad polluters, too.

I guess it all depends on your reasons for not eating meat. Environmental? Ethical? Industrial? Health?
14
I'll volunteer to eat that 'Leonard' goldfish trying to get into the Seattle Aquarium.
15
This is absolute nonsense.

Does she want us to start eating beef?

Total frickin moron.
16
For the enviro-hysterics, it's always the "single most important decade". Just like for their apocolypse-is-neigh Christian counterparts.
17
I agree with her. I love fish, but I stopped eating it because we're fishing them into extinction.
18
maybe i wouldn't eat fish if anyone could give me a solid fucking argument against it. i looked for anti-fish info at veg fest a year ago and all i found was a brochure from PETA that insisted it was morally wrong to eat fish because they feel pain and sadness. wtf? i'm sure ants feel pain as well, but you don't see me refusing to walk around the city until hovershoes are invented.
19
Well, for an "enviro-hysteric" and a "moron", she has a pretty impressive education and track record:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Earl…

I don't know. Seems to me that if I'm seeking knowledge about the health of the oceans, and my choices are: A) Will in Seattle; B) David Wright; or C) Sylvia Earle ... I'm gonna have to go with C.
20
@19 for the win.
21
Some fisheries are responsibly managed, and some kinds of fish can be raised in aquaculture in responsible, sustainable, low-impact ways.

Eat tilapia - tilapia farming is easy and doesn't produce the massive waste effluence of, say, salmon farming. Eat halibut, as long as the fishery continues to be managed in a sustainable way. Get one of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's wonderful seafood guide cards and put it in your wallet!

Fish is just like any other animal food product - you can eat it but you need to take responsibility for all that was entailed in bringing it to you.
22
One of the key issues about farmed fish is their food. Because they eat, you guessed it, other fish. A lot of ocean fish go into those salmon farms.

So... eat fish from wild, sustainably caught and well-managed fisheries. Alaskan salmon's a big one there.
23
Worse yet - who's going to break it to Japan? They've been raping the world's oceans for forever.
24
@12... word. but clams have feelings too
25
@21:

Keep in mind that a successfull sustainable fishery has yet to be demonstrated on a scale even remotely able to counter declines in fish population and diversity caused by destructive catching practices and over harvesting. Only future population counts can tell us if so-called sustainable methods really do sustain. Just be prepared to stand up to the fish industry lobby and to change consumption habits (including, possibly, giving up fish altogether) as the marine census data indicates, and there still might be a chance that wild populations will survive.

To appreciate the scale of the damage already done, see these links:
http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2003/fe…

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0…
26
The argument I've read is that fish stock have been declining for 150+ years, we just didn't recognize it until around 30-40 years ago. Stories passed down amongst fishermen about how they could catch fish 10 ft off shore, then became 100, 1000 and now 10,000 (so to speak). And the fish being caught are smaller, more "bottom feeders", etc. And the apparent effect this has is destroying ocean habitats that make the whole rain water, cloud, photosynthesis, air, life thingie possible. I have heard it's pretty important, so perhaps we should listen?

I say this as an omnivore who in no way struggles with his eating habits. But I'm sure it's willful blindness and in 20 years I'll be looking at my previous meat eating ways the way we look at smokers now. Either that or I'll be dead because a Terminator will get me first.
27
I guess I should have clarified 'farms' that produce shellfish - I'm not a big fan of salmon. I'm sure they are 'bad' just like factory farms that produce meat & all agribusiness in general. Developing nations that have no environmental controls are even worse - plus many have issues of exploding human populations as well.

It's human population plain & simple. Like any biological entity we are programed to eat & multiply until we run out of food. You can talk all you want about 'sustainability' but what global population are you basing that on?

Seriously what is the answer? Soylent Green?
28
You gotta make a distinction between an "enviro-nut" and a biologist. When the biologists are panicking, please panick with them. You can't be a biologist if you're an absolutist - your science will suck. So when non-absolutists who KNOW their biology say "there will be no more fish", there will be effectively no more fish. Sure, there will be a tuna or two around, but have fun trying to outbid the Japanese for it.
29
I can't believe I wrote the work "panick". Forgiven me.
30
@25

Read Richard Ellis' The Empty Ocean or take a few course credits in marine ecology. I have done both of these. Both experiences are far more impactful and depressing than the sites you linked to - so consider your point already well taken.

Nevertheless, simply not eating fish is not an option for some people (though very few if any of those are in the US), and it's not a good option for many others. By supporting the few fisheries and fish farms that are attempting to create sustainable models we also support those efforts. This strategy can work - witness the recent rise in the availability of organic and sustainable foods. The problem is far, far, far from being solved but we've made just enough progress to verify that we can, in fact, make progress. Boycotting fish entirely won't encourage responsible fishing, it will make those responsible fishers - whose jobs are more labor-intensive - suffer and go out of business.
31
Meh, by that time some GE whizkid will have invented a commercial method for producing vat-cloned muscle fiber proteins without the pesky - and morally problematic - animal parts thrown in.

Long-Pig anyone?
32
So I guess shark fin soup is right out.........

33
Hi all,

Bluefin Tunas are arguably the greatest athletes in the animal kingdom. They can do 70 mph, drop to 3500 ft below the surface. They start to suffocate if they swim slower than 18 mph. They are warm-blooded. The big ones, like all the great fish, are all female. They used to reach 1500 lbs, 9ft in length. The Americans thought they had their Bluefin, and the Europeans thought they had a different population until the scientists came along and informed them it was all the same fish, swimming around the North Atlantic like it was a fish bowl.

We should have some respect for these fantastic animals. They aren't ours to destroy, they don't belong to us.

She's right, don't eat anything caught in the ocean, restrict yourself to Alaskan seafood like Salmon and Halibut, farmed vegetarian fish like Tilapia which actually makees some sense, and shellfish like oysters from around here.

You can live without the rest.

Thanks all,

Ed

34
It's basic math. If you take fish out of the sea faster than they can reproduce, there will eventually be no more fish. When there are no more fish, you won't get to eat fish anyway. Environmentalism is basic math.

The Earth cannot support 6 billion people forever. When we exhaust the resources that support us, our population will drop. Billions will starve. Or, we can act like rational beings by controlling our population, and devote our resources to sustainable clean food sources. We either start to control our own behavior or cause and effect decides for us.

You don't have to be vegan, just be mindful of the food you eat.
35
if i stop eating fish, will everyone else, including asians, stop eating fish, too?

no they won't. then all that sushi is going to assholes who won't appreciate it as much as me.
36
"Or, we can act like rational beings by controlling our population"

Good luck getting the world's religions to sign up for that one.
37
I really liked @3 for the win... I mean, if your registered name is a fish, and a silly fish at that, then a post like this is a gift horse... er, gift fish. And it was a funny comment!
38
DavidC @ 27: Soylent Green? You serious? Soylent Green is people, in case you haven't heard! Do you know what those people ATE, ferchrissakes?!?!
Seriously, though, I could be a lot more down with the whole vegetarian/vegan thing if they didn't push that god damned f*ckin' TOFU all the time. Stuff gives me UNCONTROLLABLE digestive problems (and I mean that in the worst possible way). Best wishes to all from northwest PA.
39
I guess this means I should stop feeding salmon and tuna to my cat.
40
Demographics are going to take care of themselves. Fertility rates are already declining rapidly in the industrial world and will follow suit in the developing world as well. But probably not in time for the poor fish. Everyone cites the Alaskan Salmon fishery as a model, but that only works be cause the resource is rigidly controlled by the industry that exploits it. Not so of many other fisheries. No one nation can control the fleets that take open ocean species who use destructive drag nets and other wasteful techniques. And a commitment to international regulation is hard to pull off. Unfortunately, the outcome for commercially valuable species is more likely to turn out like the Grand Banks cod than the Copper River salmon.
41
What about freshwater fish like trout or walleye? Just wondering.
42
@36: Um, yeah, because everyone who's *not* in one of the world religions will be AOK with the (world?) government telling them if/when/how much they can reproduce.

And there's certainly no problems with the Chinese system. Wait, what?
43
@38: You'd go vegan if people would stop forcing you to eat something that makes you sick? This is your lucky day! You no longer are required to eat tofu! Now go be a tofu-free vegan!

You're welcome.
44
The vegetarianism issue aside, categorically saying "no fish" is a bit draconian. I agree that there are some huge environmental/biodiversity issues that need immediate address, and lots of species should no longer be fishable (e.g. Chilean sea bass, among many others).

However, modern aquaculture and fish farming technology has really advanced a *lot*. For instance, instead of wild cod you can now get farmed hoki, which is similar and delicious. This is a deep-sea fish that people used to not be able to farm because of, well, the depth issue. But now they use these huge carbon fiber deep-sea cages that keep the farmed hoki in and other fish out. With large enough cages and due attention to the health of the fish both in and out of the cages, this is a sustainable, tasty, and very healthy way to consume seafood. Land-based fish farming is also taking off with new technology that makes this feasible, for everything from salmon to crab.

Anyway, if people put pressure on their grocery stores and seafood suppliers that they want only ecologically sustainable seafood options, this will make a big difference.

From a nutritional perspective, it's pretty clear that human beings are likely evolutionarily adapted to eat seafood (over, say, beef) given what we are learning about omega 3 and other fatty acids and other benefits of seafood consumption (cardiac health, vascular health, anti-inflammatory effects, longevity, childhood fish consumption correlating to higher IQ, etc.). So, now we need to find more and more-sustainable ways to raise and consume seafood.
45
She also said she wished fish could vote in a speech. She is on the fringe and refused to correct obviously wrong statements presented as scientific fact (such as saying all corals that undergo bleaching die. Not true).