Fish and seafood vs. environmental protection

    02 Aug 2021

    Recently, more and more research is proving the vast amount of greenhouse gases and other environmental tragedies that result from the production of animal products. The United Nations points out in its report that approximately 37% of air emissions come from the food industry, which forces livestock in large areas in need of mass deforestation.

    Let’s get acquainted with Rubryka’s article, where the author from the UA Plant Based campaign pays more attention to the impact of fishing and seafood on the environment. This is also an essential part of the diet of a large number of people.

    The oceans cover about 70% of the planet’s surface, which is why they play a significant role in stabilizing the Earth’s dynamic systems. Moreover, the oceans provide more than half the oxygen of the entire planet and absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In addition, they are responsible for regulating the weather: underwater currents help distribute heat, causing seasonal weather events. 

    protectingseveralherefore, we should emphasize that eating fish and seafood harms the environment for several reasons. Catches of aquatic life are responsible for polluting the oceans through fuel for ships, which must constantly stop and continue to move to set and then collect traps. This increases the number of carbon emissions into the air. Fishing nets also damage coral reefs and seagrass, although they provide shelter and food for many marine species. Quite often, the remains of fishing traps (“ghost nets”) are left in the water, confusing the animals or getting into their bodies, which usually ends in death for marine mammals.

    Commercial fishing has already led to catastrophic declines in fish populations. Some valuable species have entirely disappeared altogether: this has disrupted food chains in ocean ecosystems, causing even more animals to die. According to a World Wide Fund for Nature report, the population of many fish species has declined by 50% since the 1970s due to continued exploitation of the marine environment. The report also emphasizes that the catch rate of marine life is 2-3 times faster than the ocean can sustain, which is why marine populations simply do not have time to recover. Thus, the biodiversity of the oceans is gradually being destroyed, leading to global climate change. To increase earnings from fishing and seafood, the food industry continues to improve fishing technologies: for example, nets that stretch for kilometers to increase fishing volumes to tons. In 2010 alone, more than 70 million fish were caught, excluding catches from artificial breeding farms. However, such actions of the company neglect the state of the environment, which is rapidly deteriorating due to ignoring the welfare of marine life. Commercial fisheries are supplying products to markets worldwide, causing growing demand; according to estimates: the fishing industry will receive about 440 billion dollars in 2026. Even though many countries currently have regulatory laws for catching marine life, this industry is mainly known for its illegal catches. Unfortunately, only 2% of the oceans are protected areas where fishing is completely prohibited. In addition to fish, fishing nets often accidentally catch other marine animals, including sharks, dolphins, whales, and sea turtles. As a result, about 30 billion kilograms of water are doomed to death. As a result, most marine species are now in danger of extinction, as ocean pollution and climate change only increase the risk of death.

    The development of aquaculture by cultivating edible aquatic organisms (fish, mollusks, crustaceans, etc.) was aimed at becoming a new source of fish and marine products with a less negative impact on ecosystems. However, in reality, this type of fishing also has a number of problems that contribute to environmental pollution. Due to the current industrial trend to get the best results at the lowest cost, fish on such farms are constantly in tightly filled cages to save space. As a result, fish may be in a state of stress, and their bodies may suffer injuries such as injuries to the eyes or fins or loss of scales. In addition to the fact that cellular conditions are entirely unnatural for aquaculture, various pollutants – antibiotics, pesticides, and waste – can accumulate in the water, making it toxic to fish and the entire ecosystem. Cellular systems also create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases and parasites, harming marine life.

    Usually, we determine our own attitude towards an animal based on its level of intelligence and ability to feel pain. Although many people do not consider fish and seafood to be living things, perceiving them only as protein sources, scientists argue the opposite. It turns out that fish are not really inferior in sensitivity to vertebrates. Moreover, they can recognize each other, have cooperation skills, and develop mental complexity (for example, they may be in a state of depression or fear). Some fish are interested in human attention and even love when they are scratched on the abdomen.

    The consumption of marine life harms the environment, contributing to the pollution of the oceans and waterways. These are just a few reasons why fish and seafood should be added to our “moral circle” and given the protection they deserve.The fishing industry is more harmful to the environment than plastic. This is the main idea of the “Seaspiracy” documentary; you may read about it here.

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