Following up on recent news of “no deal” on a bluefin tuna resolution out of Europe, The New Republic writes Aquacalypse Now, alleging that governments — including America’s — provide nearly $30 billion in subsidies each year—about one-third of the value of the global catch—that keep fisheries going, even when they have overexploited their resource base. As a result, there are between two and four times as many boats as the annual catch requires, and yet, the funds to “build capacity” keep coming.
Dining at a new sushi restaurant in Greenwich Village last week, I noticed that half the menu was now vegetarian. Two of our three rolls were veggie and divinely delicious.
Try it, you’ll like it: mango/asparagus sushi, for example. I was surprised at how much I loved the tastes.
Back to the subject of overfishing, like arguments over the environment, the two sides can’t reach any meaningful agreement on the subject of “the end of fish” and how serious are the implications of overfishing.
To some Western nations, an end to fish might simply seem like a culinary catastrophe, but for 400 million people in developing nations, particularly in poor African and South Asian countries, fish are the main source of animal protein. What’s more, fisheries are a major source of livelihood for hundreds of million of people.
A recent World Bank report found that the income of the world’s 30 million small-scale fisheries is shrinking. The decrease in catch has also dealt a blow to a prime source of foreign-exchange earnings, on which impoverished countries, ranging from Senegal in West Africa to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, rely to support their imports of staples such as rice.
On the subject of sushi, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a comprehensive, detailed sushi-watch page. I’m directing you to the salmon page, where I believe it’s OK that I continue to eat ikura from Alaska. Just taking a quick look, a responsible person must ask about the origin of most restaurant and take home fish, and not only when eating sushi.
Alaskan salmon is fine; worldwide salmon is not. Complicated as it seems, intelligent people must ask these questions. I openly admit that I haven’t properly monitored my fish eating until recently, but better now than never or when the question is moot, because the fish are long gone.
Back to the New Republic’s read Aquacalypse Now. While experts argue, perhaps it’s best so be safer, rather than sorry. In so many of these important topics, “woops” is really not an acceptable option. Anne