We should be concerned about the sustainability of global fisheries. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO), 52% of the 600 marine fish stocks they monitor are fully exploited, meaning fisheries are operating at or close to an optimal yield level with no expected room for further expansion.16 Seventeen percent are overexploited, meaning that fish are being harvested in an unstainable fashion, seven percent are depleted, and one percent are recovering from depletion.16 Further, only three percent of the world’s oceans and seas are considered marine protected areas.17 18
Fortunately, efforts are being made to make global fishing sustainable by organizations such as the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and the Marine Stewardship Council. 17 19 20 21 22 Novel methods, such as “Eco-Harvesting,” are being utilized to spare higher trophic-level species while capturing lower-trophic level species such as krill which reproduce more readily and therefore may have a lower risk of causing significant environmental impacts when utilized to produce marine oil supplements.23 Even so, as krill are a keystone species in the Southern Ocean ecosystem, a significant reduction in their population could lead to an overabundance of zooplankton, which krill feed on, and impact the whales, seals, penguins, squid, and various fish that rely on them as a food source.24
Additionally, the supplement industry is capitalizing on producing omega-3 supplements from microalgae which may prove to be a sustainable alternative to fisheries as the algae can be produced photosynthetically in a controlled environment without the need for perpetual harvesting or energy input.25 26 27
*There are more references here than what it used in the article. This article was extracted from a longer piece I wrote for a school assignment. Please bear with the extra references. Thank you :-).
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- Ponte PIP, Alves SP, Bessa RJB, et al. Influence of Pasture Intake on the Fatty Acid Composition, and Cholesterol, Tocopherols, and Tocotrienols Content in Meat from Free-Range Broilers. Poult Sci. 2008;87(1):80-88. doi:10.3382/ps.2007-00148.
- Ponnampalam EN, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts: potential impact on human health. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):21-29.
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- Eco Harvesting. http://www.cleanmarinekrill.co.uk/eco-harvesting. Accessed October 15, 2017.
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- Anzilotti E, Anzilotti E, Anzilotti E. The Supplement Industry Is Devastating The Environment–Can Algae Fix It? Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/40425399/the-supplement-industry-is-devastating-the-environment-can-algae-fix-it. Published June 1, 2017. Accessed October 15, 2017.
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- Ji X-J, Ren L-J, Huang H. Omega-3 Biotechnology: A Green and Sustainable Process for Omega-3 Fatty Acids Production. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2015;3. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2015.00158.
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