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Opinion: No more fish by 2048?

GLOBAL - In 1966, H.B. Stewart referred to the sea as man's "last great relativelyuntapped resource on earth." This ever-declining resource will soon disappear, however, if over-fishing and other human impacts continue at their current pace.

In fact, scientists predict that the world will run out of seafood in just 42 years. In a study published in the journal Science just a little over two weeks ago, 14 researchers led by Boris Worm pointed out that 29 percent of fish and seafood species have already collapsed (that is, they have declined by 90 percent) and about one-third of all ocean resources, including Bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod, Alaskan king crab and Pacific salmon, have already been depleted.

The paper also adds that in addition to wiping out important species, our actions are also hampering the ocean's ability to filter nutrients and resist the spread of disease.

We need to be smarter about what we take from the ocean and how much. Second, we need to actually start imposing fishing limitations and delineating areas of conservation. Instead of doing this, though, the general consensus seems to be that we need to create more industrial-sized fish farms off our coasts. Aquaculture, however, which was invented by the Chinese some 3,000 years ago, has yet to be proved as a viable solution. Fish farming has much too many complications to ever be considered as a worthy substitute to the ocean's resources.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, the world's fish farmers and fishing fleets harvested 132.5 million tons of seafood in 2003 and even this was not enough to account for the demand. If we are consuming too much seafood for even the ocean to provide for us, what makes people think we can farm enough fish ourselves to meet the demand?

Source: The Cavalier Daily

the Fish Site Editor

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