In the course of a year, wild harvest fisheries supply the world with about 200 billion pounds of fish, give or take. Not nearly enough to eat, they tell us, but too much to sustain.
By the same token, the world consumes about 80 million barrels of oil per day. Given that there are about 42 gallons of oil per barrel at an average of 7 pounds to the gallon, we are going through oil at a much faster clip than we are fish. (My calculator doesn't go that high, but if you multiply 8 times 42 times 7 times 365, then tack on 7 zeroes, you get 8.6 trillion pounds of oil per year).
That's 430 pounds of oil consumed for every pound of fish caught.
Eventually we'll run out of oil. The good news is, fish reproduce.
That is not to say that fish are an inexhaustible resource. But the comparison suggests they are a resource we ought to be able to sustain.
Who knows? If we approach fishery management in terms of maximizing harvest, as opposed to maximizing conservation, perhaps we can sustainably increase production.
I don't mean to dismiss forage species, habitat protection and other considerations. But I think we are becoming way too timid about the simple assertion that people ought to eat wild harvested fish, and for the most part, the more the better.
We live in a time in which "fully utilized" stocks are considered anathema. As I see it, they ought to be the Holy Grail.
Welcome to National Fisherman's 2008 Yearbook. — Jerry Fraser