January 18, 2010

One for those who say they only eat fish

I meet more and more people that don't eat beef, or don't eat veal, or chicken etc., etc., etc.  I eat just about everything.  But growing up my dad didn't each much meat if any for any number of various reasons including the fact that he grew up on a hog farm.  I can handle the fact that I'm eating a cow that once mooed.   Most of all I meet people that say I eat just fish and chicken.  Well for all of those people I have some news.  Fishing is not all that humane either.
Over the weekend I watched a 3 part series on Discovery, called the Wild Pacific.  I'm a sucker for anything like planet earth especially if it's HD.  As part of the series they filmed the fishing practices of tuna.  I like my sushi, but I don't eat all that much tuna because of all the mercury news, plus many places especially in NYC don't serve it anymore.  When I saw the film of the tuna being caught I was appalled.  

A dye is dropped in the water and speed boats circle around trapping the fish in the middle of a "wall of water"  Then a net is dropped

This image only shows a few fish, but it's more like thousands.  A single haul can catch 150 THOUSAND TONS!!!!  Not to mention other fish and birds that get caught in the net.  This practice has been banned around the world, however there is very little policing.

"A Solomon Islander catches a yellowfin tuna off New Georgia on one of the last pole-and-line boats in the South Pacific. The fishery has now closed, losing out to purse-seining operations. Pole-and-line fishing targets fish of a specific age and species, unlike purse-seining, which encircles everything in the path of the nets, including sharks and turtles. 'If shoppers buy tins of "sustainably caught" tuna,' says Jonathan, 'it will give a future to vessels such as this one and a better deal for marine life.'" Curtesy of Greenpeace.
If the fish are caught using this "purse" method, it not only harms dolphins, other fish, birds, turtles, etc.  It is one of the main reasons so many fish are on the verge of becoming extinct.  How many times could one dip into our sea and pull out 150,000 tons of one type of fish?  This is definitely something that I will think twice about next time I have a notion of ordering tuna.  Please ask for line caught tuna.  A practice that targets tuna, and poses very little if any harm to birds.
I know when I walk through Whole Foods and they give me the list of fish that's OK to eat that moment.  I never really understood how a fish could become over fished.  Seeing this really made the magnitude of what these fishermen are doing very clear.

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