• Dipanshu Sharma

Why is it so hard to ‘eat local’ when it comes to seafood?

By Kirsty Slemint

Image credit: Eran Menashri

Next time you are browsing the seafood section of your local supermarket, take a minute to think about this: more than 60% of seafood consumed in Israel, is imported.

So – why is this happening?

Due to a rising population, increased demand and necessary regulations to fishing practices, Israeli fisheries and aquaculture industries are finding they are unable to produce enough stock to meet demand.

In 2009, members of the UN General Assembly revealed that food production would need to double by 2050 “to meet the demand of the world’s growing population”.

The import trade helps meet supply demand while simultaneously reducing the impact on marine environments. However, it only exports the environmental degradation to other countries who may not have the resources to police the standard of fisheries or aquaculture farms.

The greenhouse gas emissions associated with these globe-trotting marine resources cannot be ignored either. How can we hope to offset those emissions when eutrophication (nutrient pollution), disease management, excess nitrogen and environmental restoration continue to affect both fisheries and aquaculture industries?

On top of this, our oceans are becoming hotter and more acidic in the face of global warming, and an extensive plastic pollution problem chokes its inhabitants. These few considerations barely begin to unpack what is an incredibly complex issue that has a myriad of parties invested in its ongoing sustainability and success.

One thing is clear, however, there is plenty of fish in the sea – until there isn’t.

For more information, check out this latest FAO article: http://www.fao.org/fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_IL.pdf

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