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When Setting the Clock Back 200 Years is a GOOD Thing

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The ReGeneration is on the move! To make it easier for customers, Dell employees and stakeholders to find and participate in our conversations about the environment, we’re moving the best of our ReGeneration.org blog over here to Direct2Dell.  You’ll find the same great posts about what’s news in “green” business and technology, along with the green tips so many of you tell us you love. Join the conversation!

Coho salmon by benketaro Overfishing has been a serious issue for a while now, and lately it seems like the debate is starting to come to a head.  Historically, entire local populations have been decimated by overfishing, and even though we are aware of the problem today, it hasn’t gone away.  Not only are fish populations threatened, but fishing-based economies as well.  According to a 2008 UN report, the world’s fishing fleets are losing $50 billion USD each year through depleted stocks and poor fisheries management. The report asserts that half the world’s fishing fleet could be scrapped with no change in catch.  Indeed, the more we learn about the issue, the more we realize how dire it truly is. 

The Guardian recently reported that scientists and conservationists are calling for a 20 year fishing ban across a third of our oceans.  Already such areas, called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), in Iceland, Canada, and the US have proven in to increase the populations of exploited fish tremendously. 

Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, has reviewed 100 scientific papers identifying the scale of closure needed. “All are leaning in a similar direction,” he says, “which is that 20 to 40% of the sea should be protected.” Friends of the Earth, the Marine Conservation Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds all support the idea of a 30% closure. “What we would see is a flourishing of life,” Roberts says. “In 20 years, we could get to a point where a lot of species are in a far more productive state.”  Roberts asserts that such a measure would replete fish stocks to where they where 200 years ago.

Which brings me to a question that’s plagued me for a while now: Which is the more environmentally responsible choice – Farm-raised or wild fish?  Intuitively you’d think farm-raised would be better because it regulates the fish stocks and makes sure there’s enough for everybody (I did, anyway).  Not so, according to just about every source I found on the interwebs.  Apparently, the crowded conditions on these farms become a breeding ground for all manner of fishy diseases which can then spread to the wild population.  Wild fish also happen to be better for us.

It’s a tough question, and I’m sure it’s more layered than I am even aware of.  What are your thoughts on the farmed vs. wild debate?  Is the answer “neither?”  Am I going to have to (god forbid) end my beloved fish fries?  I’m very interested to find out other viewpoints, as it has been a running debate in my own household for a few years now.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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