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No Fish, No Rainforest

by the Fish Site Editor
29 March 2010, at 1:00am

US - In order to replace the protein harvested by commercial seafood man would have to clear cut all of the worlds rainforests 22 times over, according to renowned University of Washington fisheries scientist Professor Ray Hilborn.

Speaking as part of a recent science seminar in New Zealand, Mr Hilborn presented his review of the ecological impact of a world without commercial seafood and found, “fishing has a relatively small environmental impact. In terms of water use, water pollution, pesticides, fertilizer, antibiotics and soil erosion, fishing barely figures. Then when you compare energy use and CO2 footprint, fishing in general comes out on top again.”

A National Fisheries Institute review of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Red List finds not sourcing just those species would cut the seafood stores have the option of offering consumers by nearly 50 per cent.

“Protein production is always going to have some effect on the environment. But it is important that we are aware of the trade off required to feed the world. It wouldn’t be smart to suggest we stop producing any single category of food, especially without thinking about how and with what we’re going to replace it,” said Mr Hilborn.

Mr Hilborn’s statistical review found replacing the protein we get from fish with agriculture would require farm land equal to 22 times the size of the entire world’s rainforests.

the Fish Site Editor