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What You Can Do To End Overfishing

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

orange-roughy

Stephen McGowan, Australian Maritime College, 2006/Marine Photobank

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to wrangle an invite to a small, local screening of the movie, “The End of the Line.” As many of you may know, this well-reviewed documentary dives deep into how current fishing practices are decimating nearly all the world’s fisheries, leading to the scientifically supported conclusion that if we continue at this pace, nearly all seafood will be gone by 2048.  The film was fabulous, and I encourage everyone to buy the DVD when it becomes available in the U.S.

The evening was rounded out by a wonderful dinner at Blue Ridge, one of D.C.’s best sustainable seafood / locally sourced restaurants, and a Q&A session with Charles Clover, the force behind the movie and the book of the same name.  The Q&A focused on the challenges of ending overfishing, which segued naturally to .

By rating restaurants based on their sustainable practices, Charles wants to help channel customers (and thus $$) to the good establishments and away from the bad ones.  If the concept gets big enough, it could temper demand for overfished species and thus provide some relief.  It could also create a driver for better management of all fisheries.  Of note, Fish2Fork employs a Wiki-type approach where about the restaurants they attend.  Hopefully, this will bring broad coverage of many areas and restaurants.

These things don’t happen overnight, and they don’t happen without grassroots support.  So please check out the Fish2Fork website and provide your input on good and bad restaurants in your area.  Tell your friends to do the same, and begin the habit of checking Fish2Fork before planning a dinner out.  Vote with your wallet by patronizing the restaurants with the best sustainable practices.

Overfishing has catastrophic impacts on the health of our oceans.  In addition to threatening individual species, it fractures the food web and upsets the natural balance between species, causing further harm (see: Toxic Algal Blooms).  To solve the problem, it’ll be important to enforce U.S. fisheries law (Magnuson-Stevens), and to apply innovative fisheries management techniques like catch shares.  Real change starts with all of us though, and Fish2Fork offers a way to support these programs with appropriately directed consumer demand.

Date Posted: January 20, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

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