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Why You Shouldn't Eat Fish

Fish, problem, overfishing, oceans, environment

The Problem With Eating Fish 

⏱ Read time: 4 minutes

Netflix recently released an original documentary called Seaspiracy that exposes the issues occurring in the world's oceans. If you want to post a review of Seaspiracy or another film related to the environment, visit our "Submit a Post" page for details about creating EarthPlex posts. 

Months ago, I declared that I would (for the most part) stop eating red meat, and I have spent the past 9 months eating very little red meat and a lot more fish. Last August, I labeled fish "The Miracle Meat for the Environment," but it's necessary to explore the environmental downsides of eating more fish. 

Overfishing

As demand for seafood increases, more and more fish need to be taken from rivers and oceans. Because we fish at a rate faster than fish can reproduce, we endanger the populations of multiple aquatic species. 

Overfishing doesn't just affect fish. Species that hunt fish have declined in population for a multitude of reasons, and one of those reasons is a shortage of prey. According to Netflix's Our Planet, some species of large marine animals have had to adjust their diets and eat less nutritious food because of human activity. 

The species that fish hunt has seen population growth due to a shortage of natural predators. The aquatic food chain has been damaged as an effect of overfishing.

Farmed Fish 

A solution to these problems seems to be farming fish. After all, farming fish can keep ecosystems in oceans and rivers intact. Fish farming comes with its own set of issues, but it could be a more eco-friendly alternative. 

Dr. David Perlmutter explained that farmed fish may have less nutrition than wild-caught fish. He also claimed that farmed fish is less sustainable, saying:

"Finally, the notion that somehow fish farming is more “sustainable” makes absolutely no sense at all. For every pound of salmon for instance, it takes 2-3 pounds of fish chow made from other fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, or herring. This needs to be factored into the equation as stocks of the fish used to sustain the fish farms are well on their way to becoming depleted."

The Bottom Line 

Fish emits fewer fossil fuels into the atmosphere than other meats, but that doesn't mean it has a positive effect on the planet. Fish such as salmon, cod, and sardines are nutrient-packed, but their negative environmental impacts are still substantial in comparison to plant-based proteins such as nuts and beans. 

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