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General Discussion



General Discussion 1


Tom Armitage | Oct 2, 2000 06:21 PM

For those interested in the issue of overfishing and other environmental problems associated with the fishing industry, there is a lot of information available on the internet. One of the best web sites is that of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and, specifically, its Seafood Watch program. MBA's Seafood Watch Chart has three categories: (1) Best Choices, (2) Proceed with Caution, and (3) Avoid. In the "Avoid" category are Bluefin Tuna, Chilean Seabass, Atlantic Cod, Lingcod, Monkfish, Orange Roughy, Rockfish (also called Pacific Red Snapper or Rock Cod), Sablefish (Black Cod, Butterfish), farmed Salmon (because of environmental concerns related to use of ocean pens), and Swordfish. A formidable list! With respect to swordfish, a recent subject of discussion on the General Topics Board, the average swordfish caught in the North Atlantic these days weighs just 90 pounds, compared to over 200 pounds in the 1960's. These small swordfish are caught before they have a chance to reproduce, so the population is in a downward spiral.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's web site has links to many other useful sites, including the Audubon Guide to Seafood. I've provided a link to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's web site below.

The question is what we, as consumers, should do about these problems. Do we, as Paul DeSorcy recently suggested on the General Topics Board, continue to eat swordfish (if you can get past the issue of worms and parasites) and other overfished species, on the basis that individual consumer boycotts (perhaps even organized consumer boycotts) will not have any significant effect on the problem, and that government regulation of fishing is the only answer? Perhaps it depends on how serious a problem you think overfishing is. If it's no big deal to you, that's one thing. But if you think it's a serious problem, isn't there something incongruous, if not hypocritical, about supporting efforts to limit overfishing while at the same time eating those fish that are being overfished? Is this any different from buying products from companies that produce those products through the use of morally reprehensible labor practices until such time as the government takes action to ban the labor practices or prohibit the import of such items?


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