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There seems to be something about fish, crustaceans, and other types of animals collectively known as seafood that makes them hard for people to sympathize with. Maybe it’s because they lack the “cute factor” that some see in other food animals like cows, pigs, and ducks, or maybe it’s because people think they have no brains or no feelings, which, if you’re wondering, many scientific studies debunk.

But, regardless of your opinion of fish and their feelings, if you eat seafood, you’re contributing to the destruction of our oceans. As the demand for seafood continues, the fishing industry evolves, developing methods and equipment that catch more fish, more quickly, which unfortunately, wreaks havoc on the oceans.

When you purchase seafood, you’re directly supporting these practices, whether you agree with them or not. Is this something you really need to worry about? Yes! Because if the oceans die, every single life form on Earth will feel the devastating effects. Here’s how the seafood industry is killing our oceans:

By-Catch

Many people would shudder at the idea of eating a dolphin or a turtle, yet millions of dolphins, turtles, whales, sharks, seals, rays, birds, and other marine species are killed each year because they become tangled in equipment designed to catch other species and are unable to escape.

They are the inevitable by-product of the fishing industry, known as by-catch, and their useless deaths are throwing off the ocean’s food chains and ecosystems. Estimates put the amount of by-catch in the United States alone, to be between 17 – 22 percent of total catch, or 2 billion pounds every year. By-catch is a factor in the dwindling numbers of important predatory species and even contributes to the deaths of endangered species.

Another cause of unintended marine life death as a result of the industry comes from what’s known as ghost fishing, which occurs when nets, traps, and fishing lines fall off of or are left behind by fishing vessels. These pieces of equipment remain in the seas and continue to catch sea life, usually resulting in a slow death for their captives.

Species Depletion

Overfishing is one of the biggest threats to our planet. Entire species have been nearly obliterated by the demand for seafood, with experts estimating that nearly 80 percent of the world’s fish stocks have been fully exploited or are in decline and that 90 percent of the ocean’s large predatory fish have been wiped out. If current trends continue, the Earth’s food fisheries are likely to collapse entirely by the year 2050. These drastic depletions are causing devastating effects to the ocean’s delicate food chains and ecosystems.

Reef & Habitat Destruction

A fishing technique known as bottom trawling operates by launching huge nets from boats, which drag along the bottom of the ocean to collect their desired catch. These heavy nets consume everything in their path, resulting in a high yield of by-catch and they cause permanent damage to the fragile structures on the ocean’s floor.

Dynamite and cyanide fishing also destroy reefs and cause instability in the populations of species that call the reefs their home. Once a reef is damaged, it may take many years to regenerate, meaning an entire reef ecosystem can be destroyed in a matter of seconds with one pass of a trawler or a dynamite blast.

What You Can Do

So, the next time you go out to eat, please try to remember some of the facts presented here and consider ordering the veggie roll instead of the tuna roll.

Like most industries, the seafood industry relies on supply-and-demand for its survival. And, contrary to popular belief, “sustainable seafood” may not be any better. The only way to help put an end to the death of our oceans is to stop supporting it with your dollars, altogether.

Check out these awesome vegan seafood recipes and spend your money on plant-based foods, instead, and keep our seas healthy and alive for future generations.

Image source: Joachim Müllerchen/Wikimedia Commons

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57 comments on “How Eating Seafood Kills Our Oceans”

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Bore Head
2 Months Ago

Something tells me after reading the "article" andJenna\'s bio, that she know\'s nothing about commercial fishing (gathering protein) for those that cannot gather their own. From beginning to end is sheer fantasy, and dogmatic horse hock! Six thousand share of total bull bleep! Eat sustainable US caught wild fish. Its good for your health.


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Bryan Ritchie
27 Jun 2014

Have to disagree strongly I am afraid. The article is not only spot on but misses out some other human induced dangers to the oceans. I have been studying in this area some time and the evidence is impossible to refute. A way to look at scientific papers yourself is to use the website scholar.google.com
We are leaving the oceans depleted and the number of humans will keep rising. We need to start resolving the situation yesterday

Andrew Gillespie
2 Months Ago

Not one of the facts stated in this article have been cited to any reputable organizations. What are the actual populations of the fish being caught and whats the sustainable limit caught? This article has been written by someone that is ignorant towards the whole planet. If these fish arent caught for consumer use what happens then? They overpopulate the ocean and cause even bigger problems to the ecosystem. There\'s a reason why game and fish are taken to feed the world, to keep the population from becoming a danger to the society that were trying to feed. Less fish caught= more predators, which in turn makes for more animal/people encounters, and I know for a fact that when that happens the animal wins. If you want to write an intelligent article try being less biased and study the facts about the environment.,


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So Blue
20 Jun 2014

Andrew?????? "The light was one bur nobody there"

ok

http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2013/08/19/12-not-so-fun-facts-about-overfishing/

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-overfishing/

plenty more if you want but.... I am sure you are clever enough to search by yourself instead of telling us fairy tell

Ahahahhaha Brilliant :)

PS

The danger to society is brainwashed people like you,,, Actually, I should call you VIRUS

Bryan Ritchie
27 Jun 2014

Hi Andrew. All of these facts can be traced back to both official reports and numerous scientific papers that are backed up again and again by further studies. Our ability to understand what is happening on this planet improves every year and all evidence still points in the same direction sadly. We fish more than we consume, and meanwhile destroy the habitats needed for fish to replenish their stocks. Levels of fish killed have not really changed much since the 1980s even though our technology is much improved. The simple reason is that people have to go further and further to find them. How we resolve this is not simple but at least we need to curb the most destructive harvesting practices of the human race.

Giselle Mehta
2 Months Ago

Glad to be off seafood.


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Hoko Le
2 Months Ago

Guess that makes humans a predator Lool unless your vegetarian


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Carol Rose
2 Months Ago

We are not the only living beings on this planet. We need to think on a different plane. Not just overconsume everything.


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James Hickok
2 Months Ago

The human disease is the worst thing to happen to life on this planet.


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Renee Lynn
2 Months Ago

I would like to point out that each SeaWorld feeds out 5,000 pounds of fish per day--& its all sustainably caught fish. They move around from place to place so as to not wipe out populations & they help breed new populations to keep the species' numbers up. Yay, SeaWorld!!


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Raheem Winters
2 Months Ago

Sigh. :( just leave the fish alone..


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Diane Keyser
2 Months Ago

So says Leonardo. Any attention is a good thing.


Reply
Lura K Siglin Dennis
2 Months Ago

figures...........everything is being wiped out sad but true


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