CHOW blogger Nicholas Day has penned a fascinating (and brief) story about overfishing in Yale Environment 360. The premise is elegant: If you want to manage fish populations and keep them healthy, pressure from corporations is likely to be far more useful than pressure from millions of consumers or even from governments.

Day looks at the positive impact of Wal-Mart (!) and attempts to use a standard of certification to label and promote sustainably harvested seafood. In a nutshell:

In an era of dwindling fish stocks—and with scientists predicting even steeper declines—corporate initiatives to promote sustainable seafood harvests are a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy global fisheries picture. Worried about the reliability of future supplies, major corporations—including Wal-Mart, Unilever, and McDonald’s—are increasingly using their economic clout to bring about change in an industry that has a long history of decimating the very resource on which its business has been built.

If Day is correct, and corporate involvement salvages the teetering wreck that is the ocean’s potential to produce edible seafood, then the same market forces that so damaged our natural resources may be the fisheries’ eventual saviors.

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