While many assume their consumption of fish only affects the fish they’re eating, a recent NPR article shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Around the world abandoned or lost fishing gear is killing countless sea animals and trashing our oceans. According to Elizabeth Hogan, campaign manager with World Animal Protection, each year 640,000 tons of gear are lost and pollute the world’s oceans.
Last year, the West Coast faced 61 whale entanglements, a record high that unfortunately is likely to be broken this year. There have been 60 reports of entanglements so far this year.
Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, describes what it’s like when a whale becomes entangled in a giant fishing net:
Sometimes it can drown the whale immediately, or it can happen over weeks, because they get so tired. They eventually die of exhaustion. If the gear is in their mouths, it impedes their ability to feed. It can amputate their tails or other parts of the body. And for younger whales, the gear may wrap around them, but the whale keeps growing and it cuts into their flesh.
This issue isn’t isolated to the West Coast. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates that there are more than 85,000 derelict traps in the Florida Keys, hurting 79 species and killing 630,000 lobsters each year. A similar problem is seen in the Chesapeake Bay area and along the coasts of Louisiana and Maine.
Human consumption of seafood is responsible for the deaths of thousands of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and porpoises. In fact, The National Journal estimates that about 20 percent of all animals caught by commercial fisheries is "by-catch," or unwanted animals swept up in massive trawling nets along with the targeted species.
The best thing we can do to remove our support from the cruel fishing industry is to leave fish off our plates and switch to a compassionate vegan diet.
Check out all the amazing vegan versions of fish and other seafood, such as Gardein’s fishless filets and crabless cakes, available nationwide. Click here for compassionate sea-inspired recipes.
Visit ChooseVeg.com for recipes and tips.