Local Fish!

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    Ron Sheldon

    If I were to add a 5th priority to Greenberg’s list it would be to foster and encourage a shift back to a local view of food. In other words, quit shipping it around the globe. I am speaking of fish to be specific but other foods as well. Less than 100 years ago we had a local connection to our food. We ate fish that typically were caught within a days journey of where we lived and there was no problem. This local connection to our food had a much smaller impact on the environment. Bear with me, if you bought your produce, fish, meat, etc. from a local farm, ranch, or fisherman the environmental cost of transport and storage was far less than the global distribution systems of today. Sure, it meant that if you lived in Iowa you probably wouldn’t be eating halibut but the food you consumed would have much more effect on your community and less impact on the environment.

    It wasn’t until we were introduced to “exotic’ fishes that our tastes and demands changed. To add fuel to the fire, this demand was the driving factor behind larger and larger fishing operations. As fishing became more profitable the natural shift of conglomeration pushed out the “local’ fisherman who was more connected to the resource. This impacted not only the number of jobs for fisherman but farmers and ranchers in the same way.

    Take a lesson from our Native American ancestors that managed to live in a symbiotic relationship with the environment. They ate what was either available to them on the landscape or that they could cultivate. Then they traded the excess to their neighbors. Think of the reduction in our carbon impact on the earth if we could shift even partially back to local food.

    Kortney Birch

    I think this is a cool idea! Half the time the fish being shipped across the world isn’t even in great condition anyways, so why pay soo much for what actually turns out to be low quality? This would hopefully decrease demand for fish and help both the economy and the populations of fishes.


    I love love love your response. It reminds me vaguely of trying to build an ecological house- you must locally source materials to get enough points. I’m not sure it would be something everyone is happy about, but a switch to local foods is a great way to limit the impact on the environment. I think a good way to make the shift happen in areas that would completely lose access to fish would be to build farms for those fish inside of the area. It would be expensive, but everything starts out expensive and is made cheaper with advancements. I think it’s a great and achievable idea.


    I fully agree with you on local fish, however, i do not think it is possible anymore. Society has generated an unrealistic sense of entitlement and telling somebody they can’t have access to a fish because they are not local is not going to work. Another pushback will be seen within the fishing industry itself, commercial fishermen will loose a significant market through this transition and whether or not it is good for the ecosystem it will affect their bottom line.

    Isabella Erickson

    I like this idea for fish markets that are in danger of being overfished, but I do not think that less shipping of food would work on a large scale. I think that the population has grown too big for that, and local food would not be enough to sustain people in cities or in densely populated areas. However, I do agree with your point that it should be local fishermen who are fishing, because they are the ones that actually care about the fish.


    I like the idea however, some of those large scale fishing operations provide food for people who would normally not be able to live off the local source of food. Also not all fish are used for human consumption, there are a lot that are used for agriculture and pet food. Switching to only local sourced food has its drawbacks. I like the idea of it though.


    This idea isn’t bad. Even though there are problems with trying to enforce it though and don’t forget that as long as people are willing to pay laws take a back seat.


    I agree, there are so many benefits to emphasizing local foods. It’s better for the local economy, and also the food is generally of higher quality than food that’s shipped in. However, there would still have to be shipping because it’s hard to sustain a large population without it.


    Eating local food makes so much sense, but I’m wondering how we would force this idea into reality. I definitely only eat local seafood, though I don’t always eat local vegetables as we live in Alaska. Would you apply the local-only idea to all foods or just seafood? Will forcing people to eat local seafood only then make it so landlocked states with minimal freshwater fish access (due to polluted waters, lack of natural populations, etc) no longer care about fish conservation? Do they already not care? I have so many questions on how only eating local fish (or foods in general) will change our views on the food industry!

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Fish and Fisheries in a Changing World