We Can Save the Oceans and Feed the World

World Oceans Day can provide a moment to pause and reflect on the beauty of the oceans or the wonder of the wild creatures that inhabit it. But as we reminisce about moments we’ve spent by the sea, we should also stop to think about the millions of hungry people that depend on our oceans as a primary source of food. A recent study showed that ocean philanthropists are spending nearly six times more to protect biodiverse places rather than productive ones, and poor management practices are putting the essential food resource of wild seafood in jeopardy. With a fishing industry supported by $16 billion a year in government subsidies, it’s no wonder our oceans are subject to overfishing: scientists report that the amount of fish caught began declining for the first time in recorded history just a few decades ago. That’s bad news, but it is recent news, too. If we take action quickly, we can have a huge effect on helping ocean abundance rebound.

We have no time to waste. The UN predicts the world population will grow from seven billion to more than nine and a half billion by 2050 — and the world must produce 70 percent more food to keep pace. Seafood can be a huge part of the answer to feeding the world. Wild seafood requires minimal fresh water to produce, emits little carbon dioxide, doesn’t use up any arable land, and provides healthy, lean protein at a cost per pound lower than beef, chicken, lamb or pork. It turns out our oceans can, if properly tended, provide a nutritious meal every day for 700 million people [Oceana calculation].

So how do we stop overfishing, and encourage fish populations to rebound? It’s an achievable goal, when tackled with a country-by-country approach. As —> Read More