A Message from Erich Hoyt

A Message from Erich Hoyt on Defending Antarctic Toothfish in the Ross Sea:

I am a whale researcher and conservationist, writes Erich Hoyt, Senior Research Fellow with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and MarineBio’s Director of Marine Mammals. Recently I became very interested in toothfish in Antarctica. At up to 2.5 m long they can be the size of a porpoise or dolphin. Left alone, they live for up to 50 years; they don’t breed until they’re about 16 and not every year thereafter. But aside from some remarkably similar reproductive parameters how is this relevant to my interest in whales and dolphins? Continue reading

An ocean filled with nothing but mud…

and worms(?)…. How appealing is that when you think of the ocean? Something that captivates most of us and draws millions of us to its shores and into its waters? It seems that people still aren’t taking overfishing seriously. My litmus test is the culinary industry. When I have time, which is never, I love to cook. Since I never have time, the next best thing is to watch my favorite cooking shows on TV – generally competitive shows like “Top Chef” or “Iron Chef.” These are shows where the best in the business compete with each other. Chefs, particularly “celebrity” chefs, are like the fashion designers of food. They’re the ones who establish what foods are fashionable in the culinary scene – and they always seem to be using red-listed fish. Tuna, Chilean seabass, grouper. It makes me cringe. Because people are inspired by what these chefs cook and the go to the markets to buy the ingredients that these chefs use. It’s frustrating as an armchair chef and conservationist when I know there are so many other products they could and should be using – they’re the ones who need to set an example!

I highly recommend reading this excellent article published in a newspaper in Australia. The article was inspired by a new documentary film about overfishing called The End of the Line. It’s time for chefs, and cooks in general, everywhere to respect the need to stop overfishing and set an example.


Visit the End of the Line movie site

Overfishing pushing seas to the End of the Line
by Peter Munro

“WHERE have all the fish gone?” is the key question asked by new documentary film The End of the Line. And it doesn’t pull punches in detailing the ravages of global overfishing. Collapsed species, poor people going hungry, our seas emptied of all but mud and worms. Continue reading

Caterers find the way to sustainable seafood

Compass supports sustainable seas with expanded list of fish to avoid

At a time when some companies have just de-listed blue fin tuna, the world‘s largest contract caterer, Compass Group, has made a significant decision to increase its ‘Fish to Avoid’ List in the UK and Ireland from 13 species to 69*.

fish to avoidThese species will not be served in any Compass Group UK and Ireland restaurants, in any hospitality dishes or be used in any sandwiches or other grab-and-go offerings until the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) advises otherwise. This updated list takes immediate effect in all of Compass’ 6,500 sites including Oxford Brookes University, Lewisham Council’s schools, Chelsea FC, Procter & Gamble UK/Ireland and Bristol Zoo Gardens. Continue reading

1st International Marine Conservation Congress

imccThe Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology will be hosting its first stand-alone meeting, the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC), from 20-24 May 2009 at George Mason University near Washington D.C. This will be an interdisciplinary meeting that will engage natural and social scientists, managers, policy-makers, and the public. The goal of the IMCC is to put conservation science into practice through public and media outreach and the development of concrete products (e.g., policy briefs, blue ribbon position papers) that will be used to drive policy change and implementation. Continue reading

Sustainable sushi

sushiTonight I had dinner with a colleague who travels the globe to address serious disaster relief and international health issues. He’s fascinating to talk to and I always look forward to hearing about his most recent travels. Tonight he was telling me about a trip to Japan where he visited the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo — the enormous market where they sell the prized bluefin tuna among a myriad of other species. He went there at 5am, which is the best time to see the day’s offerings before they’re quickly sold to restaurants. I imagine it was fascinating. He told me he had sushi there for breakfast and my mouth watered at the thought of the extraordinarily fresh fish he must have enjoyed. Then, feeling guilty, I thought about Toro. The prized belly of the tuna that sells for ridiculous prices. Why? Because its increasingly rare. Just a few days ago, WWF released a report that bluefin tuna stocks are collapsing under the heavy demand. Why are people still eating this when it’s been shown to have high levels of mercury? I urge sushi lovers to avoid this delicacy and any other sushi – or seafood – dishes that are not currently sustainable. There’s an organization called Sea Choice in Canada that has produced a sustainable sushi card to educate diners on the best choices for sushi. If you’re a sushi fan, print it and carry it in your wallet. Continue reading

US Government subsidized fishing nets?

The United States Agency for International Development is jeopardizing the future of development for east Africa by distributing destructive fishing nets to African fishermen:

Kenya Wildlife Perishes in Nets Bought with US Aid
By Katharine Houreld

DIANI, Kenya (AP) – Plastic fishing nets — some bought for poor fishermen with American aid money — are tangling up whales and turtles off one of Africa’s most popular beaches.

One recent victim was a huge dappled whaleshark that bled to death after its tail was cut off by fishermen unwilling to slash their nets to save it. In another case, divers risked their lives to free a pregnant, thrashing humpback whale entangled in a net last summer. Continue reading