But what does this mean for the average consumer? Should we stop eating fish altogether?
Fish farms haven't been the perfect solution, since the fish are typically fed wild fish.
Some experts have suggested that if we chose to avoid certain threatened fish, wild salmon for example, for a period of time, we could help rejuvenate the population. But this would have to be an effort on the part of consumers.
Now, Mexico has taken the bold step of paying fishermen in order to not fish and help save a species, according to the New York Times.
The article says that the Mexican government has spent about $20 million over the last two years on conservation measures, mostly to persuade 800 of the 4,000 registered fishermen in the area to accept its offer to stop using nets or to stop fishing entirely. The offer is intended to save the vaquita, a small porpoise that is threatened with extinction due to commercial fishing--the vaquita is an unintended byproduct when it gets trapped in the nets that fishermen use to catch shrimp, mackerel, and sharks, according to the article.
Many of the fishermen who have accepted the offer will use the money to start businesses, but the article says that for those fishermen who don't want to cease fishing, there is a new net available that does not trap the vaquita.
Officials here have taken actions, such as requiring federal shark fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico to land sharks with their fins still naturally attached. This is in an effort to prevent the cruel practice of finning a live shark at sea and dumping its body.
But perhaps it's time we take more direct action in the form of subsidies. Corn farmers have received government subsidies for years, artificially lowering the cost of corn, even when they are reaping the benefits of the ethanol boom. Maybe the government could take similar steps to preserve ocean populations.
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