Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whole Foods Shame on you

As I had thought, the chart below is from my latest Greenpeace newsletter this is the second reputable environmental organization that is just saying NO to Atlantic Cod, which is now on sale at your local Whole Foods. I don't mean to pick on Whole Foods, but my feeling is don't tell me you're concerned about sustainability etc., and then turn around and sell a seriously over fished species like Atlantic Cod, a fish that has been on and off endangered species list since the 1990's both in Canada and the US.

The Greenpeace article is mostly about Tuna, check out the site they have some neat visuals and interesting information about canned Tuna. If you are a big Tuna eater I would encourage you to at least be aware that you do not under any circumstance eat Blue Fin Tuna, and if you are in a restaurant where they serve it please complain to the management and demand, yes demand, that they not sell it any more.

For some reason all of my journals and newsletters this month are focused on the oceans and the devastation we are wreaking on them. Earth Island Institute is a wonderful organization that Neil and I have supported for many years, they publish a quarterly magazine called Earth Island Journal that you can buy at good magazine stores or if you donate you get it a years subscription as part of your donation (I'm not sure what the minimum donation is to get the magazine, I'm sure it's not much and it's very worthwhile). This issue is not yet online so I highly recommend going out and buying the latest oceans issue and read the article about the jellyfish. Very scary stuff, basically if we keep destroying the top of the food chain in the oceans we maybe left with nothing but huge blooms of jelly fish, that is if the oceans don't acidify and dye outright killing everything. Yet another lovely consequence of global warming. Can you believe that there are people out there who still deny that global warming exists? Rhetorical question, hell there are still people out there who deny the holocaust the difference here is that global warming is happening now and if we don't act quickly there won't be any people alive on the planet to deny it any more. How upbeat of me.

Atlantic Cod

Atlantic cod or scrod

Gadus morhua

Most people associate Atlantic cod as the white fish found in popular fish and chips meals. Atlantic cod, a groundfish that hovers at the seafloor, grows fast and breeds at an early age. Many Atlantic cod stocks plummeted in the 1990s due to overfishing, and rebuilding efforts have not yet succeeded.

Atlantic Cod

Where they live

Atlantic cod live along the seafloor on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. They can be found in Canadian and United States waters from Greenland to North Carolina, and along the coasts of Europe.

How they're caught

The primary fishing method for Atlantic cod is bottom trawling which involves dragging large nets across the seafloor. Fishermen also use gill nets, longlines, and hook and line to catch Atlantic cod. Atlantic cod are also targeted by pirate fisheries.

Causes for concern

  • Stock Status
    Atlantic cod are overfished in U.S. waters and seriously depleted in Canadian waters. Despite strict management in the U.S. and Canada, cod stocks in these waters remain overfished and some Canadian populations are listed as endangered. Most populations in the northeastern Atlantic are also in poor condition.
  • Destructive Fishing Methods
    Bottom trawling is the most common method used to catch Atlantic cod. Bottom trawling damages the seafloor, impacting marine habitats that are important to the survival of groundfish and other species. Bottom trawling is also indiscriminate and incidentally catches other fish and marine animals that are dumped overboard as bycatch.
  • Habitat Impacts
    Severe depletion of cod has led to observed change in the food web in Eastern Canadian waters where other animals have moved into the niche that cod had previously filled.
  • Poor Fishery Management
    U.S. and Canadian fisheries managers have closely studied population levels and implemented several regulations but were unable to prevent the extreme decline of cod stocks. Poor management continues to threaten the Atlantic cod's recovery.
  • Pirate Fishing
    Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing of cod in closed areas in the north eastern Atlantic are ongoing problems and contribute to declining stocks.
  • Fishing Communities Impacts
    Coastal communities have lost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars as a result of the decline in Atlantic cod.

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