Wild Food Peak

February 12, 2010 · Filed Under collapse of fisheries · 1 Comment 

The importance of wild food has obviously been in decline right from the time when a few hunter gatherers decided to have a try at farming. Now, although wild food caught or gathered on land is still important in parts of Africa and places like the Amazon for most of us in the west it is a very small part of our diet.

Wild fish, on the other hand, is far more important. It is a superb high protein food that has been a significant part of our diet and the collapse of fish stocks forecast over the next 20 years could not come at a worse time.

We should remember that until the time of catch there is no input of energy in wild fish while farmed fish obviously uses far more energy.  Thus moving away from wild meat and fish will not be easy.

Below is part of an excellent article by Janet Larsen from the Earth Policy Institute website:

 “After decades of growth, the reported global wild fish catch peaked in 2000 at 96 million tons and fell to 90 million tons in 2003, the last year for which worldwide data are available.

The catch per person dropped from an average of 17 kilograms in the late 1980s to 14 kilograms in 2003—the lowest figure since 1965.

As fishing fleets expanded through the late 1980’s and as fish finding and harvesting technologies became more efficient, the world’s fishers have systematically gone after their catch at greater depths and in more remote waters. Over the past 50 years, the number of large predatory fish in the oceans has dropped by a startling 90 percent. Catches of many popular food fish such as cod, tuna, flounder, and hake have been cut in half despite a tripling in fishing effort. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the 4 million vessels scouring the world’s waters are at or exceeding the sustainable yields of three quarters of all oceanic fisheries.

The 10 most-fished species constitute 30 percent of the world’s catch. Seven of these have reached their limits and are classified as fully exploited or overexploited throughout their entire ranges, meaning that we cannot expect to increase their harvests. Included in this group are two types of Peruvian anchoveta, Alaska pollock, Japanese anchovy, blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic, capelin in the North Atlantic, and Atlantic herring. The other three species—chub mackerel, skipjack tuna, and largehead hairtail—are overfished in parts of their ranges.

Interestingly, several of these species became fishing targets only after the stocks of more desirable fish were overharvested. After the collapse of the 500-year-old Canadian cod fishery in the early 1990s, blue whiting catches increased. In the northwest Pacific, the overfishing of Alaska pollock and Japanese sardine led fishers to focus on Japanese anchovy, largehead hairtail, and squid. Some scientists warn that continuing to ‘fish down the food web’ will lead to harvests almost exclusively of bait fish and jellyfish.”

John Gossop speaks on Vegetarianism

December 4, 2009 · Filed Under Peak Food in the News · 1 Comment 

Following headlines in the national news about Sir Paul McCartney’s call for everyone to eat let meat, John Gossop, author of Peak Food, spoke on Andy Comfort’s Morning Show on Radio Humberside. John answered questions alongside Annette Pinner, Chief Executive of the Vegitarian Society.

John Gossop Radio Humberside

John Gossop Radio Humberside

Click below to listen to the interview.  It is in two parts and not all is included due to download limitations.


John Gossop speaking on Radio Humberside part 2