Pigs eat more fish than all of Japan

Apparently, 17% of wild-caught fish ends up getting fed to livestock. That’s pretty astonishing, given the increasingly dire state of global fish stocks, and it underscores the way in which most modern agriculture is fundamentally unsustainable.

As long as it is dependent on outside inputs where the supply is growing scarcer, it won’t be a mechanism for feeding humanity indefinitely.

Much better to leave those fish in the sea or, failing that, at least feed them to people.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

5 thoughts on “Pigs eat more fish than all of Japan”

  1. Earlier, you mentioned that a lot of unwanted ‘bycatch’ fish gets tossed dead back into the sea.

    Perhaps fishers could be required to save those fish, for use in these kinds of animal feeding operations? Surely, that would be better than just dumping them in the ocean?

  2. Alternative animal feed part of global fisheries crisis fix: UBC study
    Published: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – 10:20 in Earth & Climate

    Finding alternative feed sources for chickens, pigs and other farm animals will significantly reduce pressure on the world’s dwindling fisheries while contributing positively to climate change, according to University of British Columbia researchers. “Thirty million tons – or 36 per cent – of the world’s total fisheries catch each year is currently ground up into fishmeal and oil to feed farmed fish, chickens and pigs,” says UBC fisheries researcher Daniel Pauly, co-author of the Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation article, published online this week.

    “Meanwhile, 25 per cent of infants in Peru – which produces half of the world’s fishmeal using anchovies – are malnourished,” says Pauly.

    In the Oryx article, nine of the world’s leading fisheries and conservation researchers – including four from UBC – reviewed the effectiveness of past conservation campaigns and propose new strategies to effect swifter and larger-scale changes.

    “Globally, pigs and chickens alone consume six times the amount of seafood as US consumers and twice that of Japan,” says lead author Jennifer Jacquet, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC’s Fisheries Centre. “Ultimately these farm animals have a greater impact on our seafood supplies than the most successful seafood certification program.”

  3. The ‘meat’ on a fish is probably less than 1/2 of the full weight of the fish. So after a fish is filleted, what do you do with the rest? It’s really not consumable by humans, so grinding it up for livestock feed is absolutely the best thing to do. Let’s not use statistics to lie.

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