A thoughtful conversation emerged after the Saturday evening (01/05/13) screening of this alarming film which detailed the plight of ocean life due to over fishing of our oceans. Fish populations are in severe decline with some experts in the film predicting a seafood crisis by the year 2050. One suggestion for countering this trend is to eat small fish. Much like it takes 54 kilos of grain to produce one kilo of beef, it takes 50 kilos of small fish (like sardine or anchovy) to produce one kilo of larger fish like salmon. Because of this, it is better to eat the smaller fish directly. Small fish also require less time to reproduce and contain less mercury than larger fish. Another idea is to be an informed consumer. You can make informed buying decisions by not ordering fish that are on the endangered species list, asking your grocer or server if the fish on offer was sustainably caught or farmed. You can also look for and purchase Marine Stewardship Council Certified Sustainable Seafood.
Some interesting facts presented in the film include that, despite increased number of fishing vessels, industrial technology and area fished, the worldwide catch has been declining since the late 1980s. When scientist propose catch limits that would help populations recover, politicians often ignore them and allow an unsustainable number of fish to be brought to market each year. In fact the organizations that police the international fishing industry allow that 99.6% of the ocean to be fished. That leaves a mere 0.04% of protected aquatic habitat. It is estimated that in order to allow populations to recover we would need to protect least one-third (33%) of our oceans.
After the film, engaged Queens Library patrons shared thoughts on the film and expanded the conversation to include topics that where not thoroughly explained in the film. These included the melting of icebergs resulting in the acidification of our oceans, massive amounts of plastic in the oceans causing multiple problems and the FDA's recent approval of the first genetically modified organisms in the animal kingdom allowed into our food system in the form of AquaBounty GMO salmon. There are lots of things to be aware of and coming together as a community to learn and discuss these things is important so we can collectively address the issues we are faced with.