Eating Lobsters Imperils Whales: Farmed Seafoods Imperil Fish Stocks


By Dr. Michael W. Fox

Think twice before ordering a lobster for dinner. According to Seafood Watch, ropes used to fish for lobsters and some other seafoods often entangle critically endangered North Atlantic right whales as well as other aquatic mammals. Ropeless fishing gear now used in Australia using a remote-controlled float should be adopted post haste. The less we take and consume from the oceans the better it will be for this vital ecosystem and for the planet’s health in reducing biodiversity-loss and climate change.

Having depleted fish in its home coastal waters, China has built the world’s largest fleet of deep-water fishing ships, reports The New York Times. One vast mothership services many smaller ships, allowing them to transfer tonnes of fish without having to return to port. The vessels travel to waters around the world, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The international conservation group Oceana tallied nearly 300 Chinese ships working near the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador in 2020. “Our sea can’t handle this pressure anymore,” says Alberto Andrade, a fisher from the Galapagos. “The industrial fleets are razing the stocks.”

For more details about the plight of ocean life and how you can help, visit Founder and Director Mary Finelli communicated to me that people shouldn’t lay all the blame for China’s abhorrent fishing on China. Much of China’s catch, and the fishes they import, are used as feed for farmed fishes, shrimps, and other farmed animals. Many of those animals are then exported as food to the U.S., E.U., and Japan. “China, Chile, and Vietnam have proved crucial in meeting the growing demand for seafood in the United States. (Aquatic Network, 2021)” and more details:

“But in Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam, aquaculture has expanded rapidly and the region now accounts for almost 90 percent of global output. In China, output tripled between 1998 and 2020, to represent 60 percent of the global total. According to a 2017 study by the University of British Columbia, many countries, including the US and Norway, use feed-grade fish directly as feed. But the practice increased significantly in Asia between the 1990s and 2010, with feed-grade fish coming to account for a high percentage of landed catches.”

“Annually, about 19 million tons of wild fish are processed globally into fishmeal and fish oil. Aquaculture currently uses 75 percent of global fish oil supplies.”

Industrial shrimp farming in Southeast Asia has had a devastating ecological impact, decimating coastal mangrove ecosystems, depleting and polluting sea life dependent on these marine forests and disenfranchising and impoverishing local fishing communities in the process. Shrimp are fed high protein sea foods, contributing to the global overfishing crisis. The wholesale use of antibiotics to boost productivity and prevent disease has resulted in bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Most shrimp is profitably exported to Europe and the U.S. with discarded parts going into pet foods. Another driver of this ecocidal industry is the medical, surgical and cosmetic value of chitosan, (which has antioxidant, antifungal, pesticidal and anti-inflammatory properties) extracted from shrimp shells with a market value of $6.8 billion in 2019.

The octopus is one of the most intelligent invertebrates on our planet. A coalition of 97 animal welfare organizations and scientists is opposing the establishment of to raise octopus farming which would cause stress and extreme environmental deprivation. See Activists Oppose Octopus Farms - › activists-oppose-octopus…

My advice to all concerned consumers: Ignore the “health benefits” touted about salmon and other sea foods and for the omega fatty acid nutrients they provide go to their original source-marine algae, on sale in health stores. Avoid the self-indulgent “luxury” seafoods such as lobsters, octopus and farmed shrimp. Farmed salmon in Scotland, a major world -producer, are overcrowded, stressed and seething with sea lice that mean hazardous insecticidal treatments and harm to wild fish in surrounding waters. Think of all the tons of damaged fish nets dumped in the oceans and strangling seals and other marine animals. Go to for some excellent information to empower all concerned.

As for fish in pet foods, tuna is high in mercury and has caused neurologic problems in cats and many cats are allergic to fish.