Want Fish? Ethics First, Please

Why we should worry about the upcoming fish apocalypse.

Glenn McGee
Nov 30, 2006

"Eat first, then ethics" wrote German poet Bertolt Brecht. But even Brecht would be horrified by the "fish apocalypse" of 2048 that Boris Worm of Dalhousie University predicts in the November 3rd issue of Science. As far as fish are concerned, we appear to be eating not only first, but without forethought, and we never get around to the ethics.

The problem of diminishing saltwater fish populations is not a new one; the United Nations has reported consistently since the mid-1990s that all 17 of the world's major fishing areas have been fished to the point that sustainability is seriously in question for many if not most of the commercially harvested species there. The most famous fishing areas of North American lore, such as the Grand Banks and Georges Bank, have been closed and reopened with hardly any planning, as environmentalist and commercial political lobbies each win their way...