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The Environmental Impact of Eating Seafood


Slaughter at sea:

No matter the method used to catch a sea animal (or otherwise classified sea creature), the animals that are not thrown back (bycatch) after being hooked, caged or netted will either die in the process of being caught, suffocate to death on deck, freeze to death on ice, die as they are “processed” (cut apart) or be “stored” until someone decides to boil them alive or kill them in some other manner for consumption. 90 million tons of carnage a year…and shrinking, but mostly because we couldn’t continue to pull that much life out of the ocean even if we wanted it.

And what about the bycatch?

“…20 percent of shark species are threatened with extinction, primarily as a result of being caught accidentally on longlines.”

“Despite declines in recent years, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, die as bycatch. As many as 200,000 loggerhead sea turtles and 50,000 leatherback sea turtles are caught annually. Longline fishing also kills hundreds of thousands of seabirds when they become entangled in driftnets or caught on longline hooks when they dive for bait.” [3]

Remember that at least 7.3 million tons of marine life (this seems like an underestimate to me) are “unintentionally” caught annually. And as you can see from the quotes above, primarily speaking about longlining, many of these animals die from the experience.

————————————————————————————–

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

- Mother Teresa

 

I choose to begin and end this piece with Mother Teresa’s quote because I hear it from two different perspectives:

1. If you remove a drop from the ocean, by choosing to take a sea animal’s life, it may not seem like much, but the ocean misses the drop.

2. If you, on the other hand, make the choice not to eat or use animals from the land or sea it may only feel like a drop in the ocean (how could it possibly make difference in the world today?), but the ocean (the world) would be that much better because of your choices.

So let us choose to be a hopeful drop in the ocean, instead of continuing to drain it of life.

 

Related Stories:

What is Pain to a Fish?
The Last Fish
The Sad Story Behind Down & Feather Harvesting
Want to Give Up Bacon? Pet A Pig

Sources:

[1]http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-overfishing/
[2]http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_gear.aspx#longlining
[3]http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/issues/wildseafood_bycatch.aspx
[4]http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/projects/fisheries_bycatch_aquaculture/bycatch/bycatch_overview.php
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/15/science/15mud.html?_r=0 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061018151028.htm

http://overfishing.org

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=456&more=1 http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_gear.aspx

http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/selective/methods.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_fishing#Methods_and_gear

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full

 

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

135 comments

+ add your own
5:05AM PDT on Jun 23, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

9:11PM PDT on May 7, 2014

Past Member in a lecturing Miss R kind of way (certainly not Miss Manners) tells Sandra A that because she eats prawns, it means 'more disease' for her and goes on about her being supposedly 'selfish.'

It is fascinating how some vegans insist that anyone eating animal products will automatically get sick. Many omnivores eat animal products that are from organic sources as well. It depends where the prawns are caught for one thing.

3:24AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Ta.

10:23PM PST on Feb 17, 2014

Good info

8:27AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

This Is one of the reasons I hate when vegetarians say it's okay to eat fish since they don't think it's a real animal. Hate to break it to you but a "vegetarian" who eats fish but no other meat is called a pescetarian . Fish have feelings too.
However If their is some kind of health reason that you need to eat meat , wild meat is always a more humane choice over factory farmed meat.

7:59AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

@Sandra A. (5 posts below)
It also means more disease for you. ;) And it means you're cruel and selfish. Congratulations!

7:57AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Really hurtful and heartbreaking. All the cruelty men invented just to mass-kill animals never fails to amaze me, amaze me in a bad way, of course. This is disgusting. And it provokes the sh*t out of me when people think fish can't feel. Hypocrites need to STFU. >:(

5:46AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Thank you Alisa, for Sharing this!

7:45AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Sadly there's no such thing as humane fishing!

4:54AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Horrible. All seafood will be farmed in the future--much is already farmed. I stopped eating seafood when I saw my mother put live lobsters into a large pot with water-not even boiling water. The excruciating painful sounds I heard i'll never forget. She finally stopped this cruelty years ago. Thanks

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