Shifting Baselines

Each year, we grind up one-third of all ocean-caught fish to feed industrially raised pigs, chickens, and farmed fish. That’s 30 million tonnes of fish turned into fishmeal and oil. What a waste.

So tomorrow at the Science Bloggers conference in North Carolina, Shifting Baselines will launch and distribute the first ‘Eat Like a Pig’ seafood wallet cards.

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Now in production: The ‘Eat Like a Pig’ seafood wallet card (front/back).

While I have written extensively about why consumers alone cannot save our fish, I hope this card can raise awareness (to the inexpensive tune of $20 for 1000 cards) about a simple message: we’re wasting tasty fish on animals like fish, chickens, and pigs.

When is the last time you saw a pig fishing?

Never. But the industrial food production says that plumping pigs as quickly as possible is best for business, and that means fat and protein, which is why 30 million tonnes of tasty fish like sardines, anchovies, and herring are reduced into fishmeal every year.

But what’s best for sustaining global fisheries? As we have seen with anchovies in Peru, we can take fewer fish from the sea and still generate the same revenue if humans, not animals, eat the types of fish listed on the ‘Eat Like a Pig’ seafood wallet card.

Reduce waste. Reduce overfishing. Turn fishmeal into a meal of fish. And ‘Eat Like a Pig’!

Additional resources:

Articles I have written on this subject: Save Our Oceans, Eat Like a Pig, Consumers Alone Can’t Save Our Fish, and The Toothfish That Bit Al Gore at The Tyee.

Peer-reviewed research in the journal Marine Policy (co-authored by Daniel Pauly): The Rise of Consumer Awareness Campaigns in an Era of Collapsing Fisheries and Trade Secrets: Renaming and Mislabeling of Seafood.

More on Patricia’s Majluf’s Extreme Anchovy Makeover in Peru in Daniel Pauly’s article Babette’s Feast and the article Golden goose or albatross?.

The Sea Around Us Project’s report On the Multiple Uses of Forage Fish.

Stay tuned for more on fishmeal at Shifting Baselines as this project continues to grow…

p.s. Thanks to Sherman Lai and Chad Wilkinson of the UBC Fisheries Centre for their artistry!

Comments

  1. #1 Toaster Sunshine
    January 18, 2008

    But what about bacon? Bacon is delicious! We need our bacon or the world will cease to function.

    But I don’t know a lot about that. I haven’t eaten pork bacon in 7 years and from what I remember of it, turkey bacon is superior.

    Seriously though, fish is much tastier than pork or beef. Especially fresh fried crappie with cornbread and green beans.

  2. #2 Erik Hoffner
    January 19, 2008

    Great initiative. It’s time to raise awareness of this practice, and start leaving more fish in the sea. And sure, anchovies and co. are tasty on pizza, but the marine food chain needs ‘em more.

    So how much do Science Bloggers drink during this national conference? Enquiring minds want to know. Do the marine biologists drink like fish? The geologists probably stick to the hard stuff, but you never know…

    Erik
    Orion Grassroots Network

  3. #3 Ian
    January 21, 2008

    it’s not just fish, it’s everything to do with the carnivore lifestyle. We waste tonnes of grain on fattening up animals when cutting out this middle animal would feed all the starving people of the world. And we wouldn’t be breeding wholesale resistance to antibiotics if we didn’t feel we had to overdose animals with them.

  4. #4 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    January 21, 2008

    Bloggers were nothing like sailors. And as for anchovies and bacon, eat them both. Just don’t feed anchovies to pigs!!!

  5. #5 Libertarian Girl
    January 21, 2008

    Ian is 100% correct. Rather than creating an initiative to not feed fish to pigs, let’s create an initiative for humans to become vegetarians– that way, humans will 1.) be eating less fish themselves, 2.) not be eating pigs, who will not need food like fish to fatten them up for the slaughter, and 3.) doing the absolute best thing we could do to be helping the environment (literally a million times better than driving a Prius around!).

    Unfortunately, the science conference didn’t get that, and the people in my group who were vegetarians had nothing to eat at the barbecue dinner (as we had requested at registration).

  6. #6 Milan
    January 22, 2008

    Reading things like this is very frustrating. I have stopped eating fish, largely due to concern about sustainability, despite enjoying them more than almost any kind of food. Seeing them wasted in this way makes it all feel pointless.

  7. #7 Dave Briggs
    January 22, 2008

    Reading things like this is very frustrating. I have stopped eating fish, largely due to concern about sustainability, despite enjoying them more than almost any kind of food. Seeing them wasted in this way makes it all feel pointless.

    Posted by: Milan | January 22, 2008 8:03 AM

    It seems like maybe you should go ahead and enjoy them yourself. One person enjoying them can’t have the effect of a big corporation grinding them up into fishmeal! And there’s nothing you can do to stop the big corporation as far as I know.
    Dave Briggs :~)

  8. #8 Jonathan
    January 22, 2008

    How fitting that you post this just as I’m reading Jacquet and Pauly (2006) for a brown-bag discussion :)

  9. #9 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    January 22, 2008

    Jonathan, Shame I couldn’t join you!

  10. #10 Jonathan
    January 23, 2008

    Jennifer, do you REALLY want to brave the traffic to get to Burnaby Mountain? :)

  11. #11 speedwell
    January 25, 2008

    This is a real question… are all these fish mercury-safe for us to eat? Is the mercury concentrated in pork, if not?

  12. #12 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    January 27, 2008

    Hi Speedwell, Good question, since not even fish oil supplements are safe. However,small forage fish are much safer than fish higher on the marine food web. Check out sardines and mackerel for instance at the Environmental Defense website, which provides health info. along with ecological information for many fish.

  13. #13 rightwingnutjob
    January 30, 2008

    What a bunch of moonbeams!

  14. #14 amazingdrx
    February 13, 2008

    Here is what I posted over at grist on your article Jennifer. Great blog!

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/2/12/11332/9852#11

    I say switch to earth worms as a replacement protein source. Save the fish, save the oceans!
    Worms feed on the waste stream. nature’s recyclers, leaving huge amounts of worm casting as organic fertilizer to enhance the soil’s carbon storage capabilities.

    The worms could be fed plant overgrowth from fertilizer run off polluted rivers and lakes. Amongst other waste stream sources.

  15. #15 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    February 13, 2008

    Using worms is a great idea and judging from some of the comments at Grist might actually have potential. They are making artificial ‘fish’ flavoring so that’s not a problem. But the biomass of worms (or insects) needed would be great. Anything on the economics of raising worms? And any reason to prefer worms to insects (other than that they won’t fly away!)?

  16. #16 John O
    January 1, 2009

    Do any of you know the statistics for the percentage of the world tuna harvest imported by America, and the percentage of that tuna that is fed to our domestic cats? I’m researching the potential of vegetarianism/veganism to change such injustices and ludicrous waste as discussed in this article…Thanks.

  17. #17 netlog
    January 18, 2009

    I say switch to earth worms as a replacement protein source. Save the fish, save the oceans! Worms feed on the waste stream. nature’s recyclers, leaving huge amounts of worm casting as organic fertilizer to enhance the soil’s carbon storage capabilities.

    The worms could be fed plant overgrowth from fertilizer run off polluted rivers and lakes. Amongst other waste stream sources

  18. #18 seks hikayeleri
    January 28, 2009

    This is a real question… are all these fish mercury-safe for us to eat? Is the mercury concentrated in pork, if not? Yes Thats is a good idea. thanks a lot

  19. #19 greenstream
    February 9, 2009

    On a related note, I recently became aware of a process to turn beer by-products into a protein source for fish feed. The idea was to use bacteria in some proprietary process to turn barley and hops into fish feed – seems like a promising way to cut out wild fish.

  20. #20 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    February 10, 2009

    Greenstream,
    This is interesting indeed. Do you by chance have any more details?

  21. #21 Hosting
    March 13, 2009

    thanks Yes Thats is a good idea. thanks a lot

  22. #22 aşk şiirleri
    April 6, 2009

    thank you

  23. #23 seks sohbet
    May 27, 2009

    This stuff is awesome.
    You’ve got to appreciate the time and effort taken to share this great info!.
    thanks

  24. #24 Ilıca otel
    May 27, 2009

    This is a real question… are all these fish mercury-safe for us to eat? Is the mercury concentrated in pork, if not?

  25. #25 aşk mesajları
    July 11, 2009

    This is a real question… are all these fish mercury-safe for us to eat? Is the mercury concentrated in pork, if not?

  26. #26 aşk sözleri
    July 16, 2009

    I say switch to earth worms as a replacement protein source. Save the fish, save the oceans! Worms feed on the waste stream. nature’s recyclers, leaving huge amounts of worm casting as organic fertilizer to enhance the soil’s carbon storage capabilities.

    The worms could be fed plant overgrowth from fertilizer run off polluted rivers and lakes. Amongst other waste stream sources

  27. #27 Bayram Turları
    July 25, 2009

    Do any of you know the statistics for the percentage of the world tuna harvest imported by America, and the percentage of that tuna that is fed to our domestic cats? I’m researching the potential of vegetarianism/veganism to change such injustices and ludicrous waste as discussed in this article…Thanks.

  28. #28 seks sohbet
    July 30, 2009

    Sound system and interesting way is good post. Good luck july

  29. #29 mirc sohbet
    August 16, 2009

    I’m researching the potential of vegetarianism/veganism to change such injustices and ludicrous waste as discussed in this article nice thanx

  30. #30 Seo
    August 21, 2009

    Worms feed on the waste stream. nature’s recyclers, leaving huge amounts of worm casting as organic fertilizer to enhance the soil’s carbon storage capabilities.
    nice blog

  31. #31 aşk sözleri
    September 4, 2009

    This is a real question… are all these fish mercury-safe for us to eat? Is the mercury concentrated in pork, if not?

  32. #32 aşk mesajlari
    September 4, 2009

    This is a real question

  33. #33 Sue Duckstein
    September 7, 2009

    I think we should train the pigs to fish for dolphins. dolphins don’t like bacon therefore they will make tasty food for the pigs. i once saw a penguin eat a polar bear, may be penguins can become the new industrially raised pigs.

  34. #34 sesli şiirler
    September 11, 2009

    I think we should train the pigs to fish for dolphins. dolphins don’t like bacon therefore they will make tasty food for the pigs. i once saw a penguin eat a polar bear, may be penguins can become the new industrially raised pigs.

  35. #35 mirc sohbet
    September 12, 2009

    The worms could be fed plant overgrowth from fertilizer run off polluted rivers and lakes. Amongst other waste stream sources

  36. I think it is a bit over the top.
    Most people including myself will not stop eating meat of fish for the mentioned reasons. why should we sacrifice doing what is natural to our existence? Instead, put pressure on the government to ensure that this is done properly and in a sustainable manner

  37. #37 bilgisayar teknik servis
    November 22, 2009

    Thanks for your share sure ..

  38. #39 video game
    January 4, 2010

    Animals are friends of human beings to kill animals is a crime, we should stop them, I support the author.

  39. #40 image share
    February 2, 2010

    I think we should train the pigs to fish for dolphins. dolphins don’t like bacon therefore they will make tasty food for the pigs. i once saw a penguin eat a polar bear, may be penguins can become the new industrially raised pigs.

  40. #41 film izle
    August 7, 2010

    But I don’t know a lot about that. I haven’t eaten pork bacon in 7 years and from what I remember of it, turkey bacon is superior.

    Seriously though, fish is much tastier than pork or beef. Especially fresh fried crappie with cornbread and green beans.

  41. #42 sex hikayeleri
    August 10, 2010

    I think it is a bit over the top. Most people including myself will not stop eating meat of fish for the mentioned reasons. why should we sacrifice doing what is natural to our existence? Instead, put pressure on the government to ensure that this is done properly and in a sustainable manner

  42. #43 komik videolar
    August 10, 2010

    This stuff is awesome. You’ve got to appreciate the time and effort taken to share this great info!. thanks

  43. #44 Orjin Krem
    August 10, 2010

    Nice thank you.Animals are friends of human beings to kill animals is a crime, we should stop them, I support the author.

  44. #45 ambalaj
    December 25, 2010

    Animals are friends of human beings to kill animals is a crime, we should stop. thank you

  45. #46 müzik dinle
    April 4, 2011

    Animals are friends of human beings to kill animals is a crime, we should stop them, I support the author

  46. #47 jay
    April 15, 2012

    DOW Chemicals > PCBs > River > Oceans > Fishes > Pigs & Chickens > Humans > Altered Immune System > Multitude of Diseases & Conditions.

    http://www.foxriverwatch.com/immune_human_pcbs_1.html