November 21 is World Fisheries Day, but that’s no reason to celebrate: fish is considered a nutritious staple food, but fish stocks are almost depleted in many places. In Austria, approximately 7.2 kilos of fish were consumed per capita in 2022. However, only eight percent of the fish is caught from domestic waters; the majority is imported.
These are often fish caught using destructive fishing methods. Longlines and bottom trawls are a nightmare for the oceans and their creatures. Bottom trawl nets destroy the seabed, while sharks, turtles, dolphins and even waterfowl die as bycatch in the longlines.
The already banned drift nets also remain a threat: many fisheries continue to use the fine nets that float in the water and simply leave them in the sea when the catch has been collected.
Ghost nets as a death trap
As so-called ghost nets, they are deadly traps for countless marine animals. While ten percent of global fish stocks were overfished in 1990, this is now 34 percent, according to the FAO.
In the Mediterranean, this share is already a dramatic 62 percent. Another 60 percent of global fish stocks are considered “maximally exploited,” meaning they are on the brink of overfishing.
According to Greenpeace, only small-scale, artisanal fishing is acceptable, which mainly provides the livelihoods of people in coastal areas.
Cover your nutritional needs with nuts
Important omega-3 fatty acids can be easily obtained from plant foods such as flaxseed or walnuts. If you still want to enjoy fish every now and then, choose organic fish from Austria.
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