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The Farming of the Sea

The Farming of the Sea

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Fishing is one of mankind’s oldest organized activities. From the time our earliest ancestors first sorted through tidal pools to the present day, we have been fishermen, and fishermen are essentially hunters. Today, that hunting has become increasingly difficult. High-tech, super-efficient methods have led to drastic overfishing of the most valuable stocks. In addition, loss of fish habitat, pollution, and acidification of the oceans have combined to naturally reduce those fisheries that are still viable. It is known what measures should be taken to develop global sustainable fisheries, but few governments have the discipline to enforce the necessary restrictions.

The World Ocean covers 71 percent of our planet’s surface and has a volume of 350,000,000 cubic miles. But the idea that it contains a vast store of harvestable protein for humankind is fiction. The fact is, fish in the oceans can never be a primary source of animal protein for a growing world population now at 7 billion people. The present world fish catch is about 85 million tons a year. It has remained at that level for nearly two decades. Furthermore, 80 percent of the fish stocks now taken for human consumption are at or have exceeded their exploitable limits. The hunter roaming the oceans is rapidly losing his prey.

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