Should you stop eating fish?
We asked legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle for her menu advice.
Oceanographer (and TED Prize winner) Sylvia Earle (TED Talk: My wish: Protect our oceans) has spent half a century campaigning to save the worlds seas. A new Netflix original documentary about her lifes work sheds light on the environmental impact of the commercial fishing industry and Earles crusade to create underwater hope spots through her organization, Mission Blue. After watching the film, its hard not to wonder: Are any fish still okay to eat? We turned to our favorite aquanaut for advice. Below, check out Earles take on wild fish, tuna rolls, and her ideal meal.
To restore the ocean ecosystem, youre saying we must put an end to overfishing and bottom trawling, which you liken to catching songbirds with a bulldozer. Is there such a thing as eating fish responsibly these days?
Except for those living in coastal communities or even inland if were talking freshwater species for most people, eating fish is a choice, not a necessity. Some people believe that the sole purpose of fish is for us to eat them. They are seen as commodities. Yet wild fish, like wild birds, have a place in the natural ecosystem which outweighs their value as food. Theyre part of the systems that make the planet function in our favor, and we should be protecting them because of their importance to the ocean. They are carbon-based units, conduits for nutrients, and critical elements in ocean food webs. If people really understood the methods being used to capture wild fish, they might think about choosing whether to eat them at all, because the methods are so destructive and wasteful. It isnt just a matter of caring about the fish or the corals, but also about all the things that are destroyed in the process of capturing ocean wildlife. We have seen such a sharp decline in the fish that we consume in my lifetime that I personally choose not to eat any. In the end, its a choice.