Overfishing threatens human health

People around the world are eating more fish. While this is generally good for their health, a researcher from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health cautions that the growing demand is putting a potentially catastrophic strain on the world’s fisheries.

While the consequences of global warming—including rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching—also threaten fish stocks, unsustainable harvesting presents the more immediate threat, according to Christopher Golden, research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health. In an article in the July-August 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine, he explained that fish are a critically important source of nutrients including vitamin B12, iron, and zinc for low-income populations around the world. But these nutritionally vulnerable people seldom benefit from farmed fish, which is often sent to wealthier areas.

Therefore, it is important “that we focus on revising policies and management structures for wild-fish catch, reorient aquaculture development and aquaculture markets to be nutrition-sensitive, and really understand who is accessing this as a food,” he said.

Read Harvard Magazine article: The Double Smack of Fishery Collapse

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Troubled Waters (Harvard Public Health)