Much ink has been spilled in opposition to the practice of raising and consuming meat (cows, pigs, etc), for what it does to the environment as well as our humanity. Raising meat uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to quantify them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — an amount that far exceeds that of transportation.
We have been urged to eat less (most Americans eat on average 8 ounces of meat a day) and consider the lasting impact that industrial meat production has on our planet, our health, and our conscience. But as much as meat production takes an enormous toll on our planet, cows, pigs, and the like are a relatively renewable resource (although not sustainable) whereas the planets reserves of wild fish are rapidly (and I mean rapidly) dwindling. Recent books like Four Fish, by the author Paul Greenberg, outline the lasting damage over-fishing of wild fish stocks and its promised solution aquaculture have had on the planet, and how our appetite for fish and seafood is leading us down a very unsustainable path.
Now comes news from the WorldFish Center and Conservation International (a global think tank on these sorts of global matters) that reveals some pretty disturbing info about the global farmed fish trade. While the report is fairly technical by nature, one look at the below graphic, which reveals where the glut of aquaculture production is happening and clearly illustrates that China is providing the lions share of it.