For approximately 3 billion people in the world, both wild-caught and farmed seafood are their primary source of protein. Moreover, an estimated 85 percent of marine fish stocks are either overfished or fully exploited. But the problem of overfishing is not just an issue of consumption; the types of fish we choose to eat and the way in which we catch these fish are related to many other issues--namely food waste, environmental destruction, corruption, and even human rights.
Bycatching, or the portion of a commercial fishing catch that consists of marine life caught unintentionally, is a persistent problem. Some estimate that the global bycatch may make up 40% of the world’s overall catch, which totals 63 billion pounds per year. This has a significant effect on sea life, with many fisheries discarding more fish at sea than they bring in, while also “injuring and killing thousands of whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles, and sharks each year.”
Its not just about the way fish are harvested, though, but rather the types of fish being harvested. Some of the most popular fish, such as Bluefin Tuna, have the biggest appetites. The Bluefin’s natural diet consists of a lot of other, smaller fish; farmed tuna are fed up to 15 pounds of other fish such as sardines and mackerel for each pound of tuna that can be sold.