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How Saving the Oceans Can Feed the World

How Saving the Oceans Can Feed the World

We have an opportunity to protect the oceans while helping combat hunger around the world. But how – and why – do we save the oceans to feed the world? 

  • By responsibly managing our wild seafood. If current trends continue, wild seafood stocks will significantly decline and no longer be a viable source of food and protein for much of the world. But if we apply responsible fishing programs around the world, we can have enough fish to feed more than 12 billion people at current rates. 
  • By focusing on national action. International action through the United Nations and other global bureaucratic bodies is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Instead, Oceana focuses on the countries that control the world’s fish catch, as well as those countries that control the largest ocean territories, or “exclusive economic zones” (EEZs). Each country’s EEZ extends to 200 nautical miles from shore, and those relatively shallow waters contain the vast majority of marine life: 99 percent of coral reefs and 88 percent of the global fish catch.
  • Ocean protein has huge advantages over terrestrial livestock. It is much cheaper to produce per pound, requires no land and little fresh water, and is much more CO2 efficient. Plus, it is healthier for us – switching diets to fish from red meat has been shown to lower rates of heart disease and even cancer.
  • We already know how to protect wild seafood stocks: avoid overfishing by setting responsible catch limits; minimize bycatch, or the accidental killing of untargeted marine life; and protect habitat. With science-based management in place, fish stocks (and the ocean ecosystems they depend on) will rebound.