According to an April 2011 report released by Greenpeace, the earth's oceans are in jeopardy due to the devastating effects of overfishing and bycatch. Despite the fact that immense evidence has been presented time and time again by scientists and researchers from around the world, industrialized fishing continues to move forward at an alarming rate.
The report's findings indicate that careless industrial fishing practices continue to be a large part of our ocean's troubles, and are now responsible for reducing populations of ecologically vital animals like cod, sharks and tuna by up to 90 percent. Furthermore, declining populations of these larger predatory fish has led to exploding numbers of small, rapidly growing varieties such as sardines and mackerel.
With most of today's industrial fishing methods a large portion of each day's catch is actually wasted due to inefficient, careless procedures. Known as 'bycatch' and incredibly shortsighted, it is a system in which much of the world's seafood is simply thrown back into the water.
Thanks to efforts aimed at eliminating unsustainable seafood, progressive public policies and increased public support, Greenpeace also reported that the last four years have seen a marked improvement in the number of large corporations taking sustainable seafood serious. Namely Target Corporation, Safeway and Whole Foods. In other positive news, the report found that a number of markets have made an obvious commitment to providing safe, sustainable seafood options for customers.
Greenpeace created the Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) project almost five years ago to spur and keep track of progress and innovation throughout the seafood sector, in part via a ranking system of major suppliers. For example, during most of 2010 and into early 2011, Greenpeace reportedly worked hard to expose the unsustainable practices still being used by Costco, as well as the company's repeated use of misleading labels and other irresponsible actions. As a result of the pressure that was generated by Greenpeace and the consistently poor CATO rankings that were assigned to the mega store, Costco released a detailed sustainable seafood announcement in February of 2011. As part of the company's new policies, it has discontinued sales of almost a dozen unsustainable species and has developed a new plan to handle aquaculture.
For more information about Greenpeace and its efforts to save our oceans, or to read the entire report, please visit www.greenpeace.org.