Our oceans are in big trouble, so as strongly as we feel about the health benefits of appropriate consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil, we also support declaring 20% of the ocean off-limits to commercial fishing.
Possible Time Frame: Sooner rather than later Degree of Difficulty: Surprisingly easy Barrier of Change: National and International bureaucracy
Eric Sata, an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and the co-editor of Shifting Baselines, The Past and Future of Ocean Fisheries published by Island Press in 2011, suggests that we are denuding the oceans by consuming fish faster than they can reproduce.
Creating marine reserves where no fishing can take place may be a bold and audacious move, but when areas of the ocean are left to recover from overfishing the number of fish increase by 21 percent on average, the fish grow to be 28 percent bigger, the amount of fish increase 166 percent per hectare, and the fish biomass shoots up 446 percent, according to data collected by the U.S. Oceans Commission and Scripps Institution, which also suggests that adjacent area spillover effects can also be impressive with 10 to 90 percent increase in commercial catches in surrounding areas.
Shifting baselines in the oceans
We must understand the oceans of the past to protect the oceans of the future.
Baselines that shift before they are charted can cause a degraded state to be accepted as normal. Experts suggest that ecological extinction caused by overfishing precedes all other human disturbance to coastal ecosystems, including pollution, degradation of water quality, and climate change. They also suggest that historical abundances of a number of ocean fish species were fantastically large in comparison to recent observations.
Retrospective data not only help to clarify underlying causes and rates of ecological change, but they also demonstrate achievable goals for restoration and management of coastal ecosystems that could not even be contemplated based on the limited perspective of recent observations.
Sadly, our environmental quality expectations have been lowered to the point that each generation regards a progressively poorer natural world as normal.
A small suggestion: make 2012 the year we overcome our tendency toward shortsightedness and clean up our diets so that we don’t need to take copious amounts of Omega-3 fish oil to balance center-of-the-supermarket junk food diets.
Ellen Troyer, MT MA
Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Officer
Pearl Recent clinical study suggest that it takes more than 10 times the amount of fish oil to systemically alter a diseased tear film than the amount included in BioTears oral gelcaps. Consumption counts, particularly when there is a 90 percent variance.
Well over 20 million doses of BioTears have been repurchased by satisfied dry eye customers.
Addendum: Some people suggest that the pelagic cold water fish primarily used in commercial fish oil capsules (anchovy and sardines with high egg production) are stable and not in danger of being overfished. I find that puzzling because sardine and anchovy populations around the world fluctuate dramatically, often varying a thousand-fold in abundance from one decade to the next, accompanied by economic boom-and-bust cycles that have become legendary (Remember Steinbeck’s Cannery Row).