Sunday, 25 April 2021

Seaspiracy and the consumption of fish


 

Whether you watched Seaspiracy in horror or avoided it because you feared it would guilt you into giving up sushi, there’s no doubt that the Netflix documentary about the environmental impact of fishing has sparked a conversation, Katy McGionness writes at the Sunday times.

The film covers a lot, from the killing of whales and how sharks’ fins are sliced off to make soup while the rest is discarded, to examining bodies behind the logos on products that are meant to indicate sustainability. The film also highlights that many anti-plastic groups are funded by the fishing industry. The shocking conclusion is that the fishing industry’s impact on sea life and the oceans is so damaging that eating fish at all is unsustainable.

Is it that simple though? A number of Seaspiracy’s findings are disputed. Some experts claim they are based on outdated research while others say that the film barely touches on other important issues.

But the problem in Ireland is this: what is Ireland's problem with fish? In a comparison of fish consumption per capita in 158 countries in 2013, the Maldives ranked the highest with 166 kg followed by Iceland (90.1 kg) and Hong Kong (71 kg). Irish people consumed just 22.3 kg per capita. Fish consumption per capita in Ireland reached an all time high of 24.6 kg in 2001 and an all time low of 7.10 kg in 1961. When compared to Ireland's main peers, fish consumption per capita in Canada amounted to 22.4 kg, 34.7 kg in France, 90.1 kg in Iceland and 19.1 kg in United Kingdom in 2013. Ireland has been ranked 48th within the group of 160 countries in terms of fish consumption per capita, 4 places behind the position seen 10 years ago. 

 

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