The Aquatic Life Institute, an international marine wildlife welfare organisation, has released an open letter urging consumers to reduce or eliminate seafood consumption altogether.
The letter, signed by more than 20 conservation and animal welfare organisations, states that “some 100 billion aquatic animals are farmed each year and another 2 billion are caught in the wild to meet our growing demand for seafood. In comparison, this figure is about 35 times that of all farmed land animals. Yet aquatic animal welfare has been neglected throughout history.”
The effects of industrial fishing on marine wildlife
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 75% of the world’s fish stocks are still overfished.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and whales die every year because they get caught in fishing nets. In addition, so-called “ghost nets”, those fishing nets that have been lost or abandoned in the ocean, make up 10 per cent of the plastic debris in the sea. Between 500,000 and 1 million tonnes of it end up in the ocean each year.
Christine Xu, director of the Coalition for Aquatic Conservation, says: “Consumers have immense purchasing power at their disposal to help save our oceans. This includes reducing or eliminating their consumption of aquatic animals”.
Fortunately, plant-based seafood is increasingly finding its way into the world’s supermarkets. This industry, which has the potential to significantly reduce the destruction of the seas, will grow by 28% annually between 2020 and 2030, according to Future Market Insights.
The signatories to the letter are as follows:
Aquatic Life Institute
Compassion in World Farming
Fish Welfare Initiative
Fundación Vegetarianos Hoy
Conservative Animal Welfare
The Humane League
Mercy for Animals
Asociación para el rescate y bienestar de los animales
Protección Animal Ecuador
A Plastic Ocean Foundation
Change For Animals Foundation
Humane Society International
Catholic Concern for Animals