More Reasons For A Plant-Dominated Diet

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Global fish catches rose from the 1950s to 1996 as fishing fleets expanded and discovered new fish stocks to exploit. Photograph: Eyal Warshavsky/Corbis

We serve fish. We love fish. We love fish too much, all of us. Every day we get more evidence of the logic for shifting more of our diet to be plant-based, and this article in today’s Guardian adds one more powerful data point:

Overfishing causing global catches to fall three times faster than estimated

Landmark new study that includes small-scale, subsistence and illegal fishing shows a strong decline in catches as more fisheries are exhausted

Global fish catches are falling three times faster than official UN figures suggest, according to a landmark new study, with overfishing to blame.

Seafood is the critical source of protein for more than 2.5 billion people, but over-exploitation is cutting the catch by more than 1m tonnes a year.

The official catch data, provided by nations to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), rarely includes small-scale, sport or illegal fishing and does not count fish discarded at sea. To provide a better estimate, more than 400 researchers around the world spent a decade finding other data to fill in the gaps.

The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, show the annual catches between 1950 and 2010 were much bigger than thought, but that the decline after the peak year of 1996 was much faster than official figures.

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The FAO data indicated a catch of 86m tonnes in 1996, then a decline of 0.4m tonnes per year. In contrast, the new research estimates the peak catch was 130m tonnes, but declined at 1.2m tonnes per year afterwards…

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