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This week on "The Colbert Report," the author of a new book called "The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's are One" was interviewed. Author Sylvia Earle explained that, of course, without the ocean, there would be no life on Earth; our planet would basically be like Mars. The ocean provides the necessary elements for o-zone, precipitation, and basic respiration. She continued by saying that the ocean is greatly threatened right now by pollution in a number of forms...AND BY FISHING. Hmmmm...something I was not aware of.
Most people eat fish because "they're so healthy." Many semi-vegetarians will allow themselves to eat fish or "seafood" (I hate that term) only. Fish are one of the few sources of Omega-3s along with flax seed and spirullina (algae). People who won't eat other animals justify eating fish because of these thoughts.
Ms. Earle said that any salt water fish usually contains mercury and PBTs. Of PBT's, the EPA says, "Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutants [PBTs] are highly toxic, long-lasting substances that can build up in the food chain to levels that are harmful to human and ecosystem health. They are associated with a range of adverse human health effects, including effects on the nervous system, reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, and genetic impacts."
Ms. Earle also explained that HOW fish are "gathered" for "harvesting" is harmful to the ocean's ecosystem. She said, for example, net fishing basically gathers EVERY living thing in the boat's wake, leaving a path of death behind. Clearly, this disrupts the foodchain as well. Ms. Earle used the example of shrimp as being one of the worst ocean animals for this phenomena. Remember when wild LAND animals are harvested for killing (i.e. hunting), there are very strict regulations about how many of any particular species can be killed, when, and where. We would never think of telling hunters to just drag a huge net through the such-and-such mountain range and kill everything that gets caught in the net! It would be like some kind of genocide! Some even argue that by only killing say 5% or 10% of the animals in any particular area, they actually help keep the herd from starving and allow it to be more stable.
Ms. Earle, who apparently was not a vegetarian, said that she no longer eats any fish because it is so destructive! I would imagine if anyone can justify eating beef or poultry but NOT fish, that it must be bad indeed.
Ms. Earle suggested that if you do eat fish, choose Tilapia, Catfish, and Carp as they are low on the food chain and are fresh-water fish.