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.



Salmon has been long-touted as a “health food” but there are some serious down-sides to consider. Wild-caught salmon and other fish stocks, such as cod, tuna and halibut, are in dire straits from over-fishing, ocean-warming, acidification and pollution. The alternatives of farmed fish, especially salmon, as I have detailed in earlier writings over two decades ago, have now reached a point of critical concern: and immediate need for a consumer boycott, be it for one’s own consumption or in manufactured foods and treats for dogs and cats.

Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2022 reports: “Farmed salmon serves as an inferior food source, accumulating more toxic chemicals in fatty tissue with fewer healthy nutrient properties based on a study from the University of Bergen, Norway and Alternative Medicine Review. However, the issue of toxic chemical contamination in fish dates back decades with investigations demonstrating high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) flame retardants restricted or banned in the U.S. and U.K., polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), dioxin (a by-product of pesticide manufacturing), and ethoxyquin (a pesticide preservative in fish feed). The aquaculture industry (e.g., farmed seafood/fish) repeatedly faces sustainability issues, failing to adhere to environmental regulations and threatening marine health. Extensive use of pesticides in local marine ecosystems has induced coastal habitat loss and increased genetic and health risks to wild marine populations. Moreover, insecticides used to kill salmon parasites (e.g., fish lice) has led to widespread disease persistence and pest resistance. Marine species biodiversity is rapidly declining due to overfishing, global warming, pathogens, and pollution. Thus, further biodiversity loss can change aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem functions and reduce ecosystem services.”

“Food analysis results find the consumption of farmed salmon fillets contributes to higher rates of metabolic disorders, including diabetes and obesity. These farmed salmon also contain levels of toxins, including PCBs and dioxin, that are five times higher than levels in other tested foods. The report suggests the primary causes of farmed salmon toxicity stem from the toxicants in fish feed, like ethoxyquin, and environmental concentrations of the chemicals, whether from terrestrial sources or farmed fish or from the fish fed to them.”

The so-called “bycatch” of commercial fishing is decimating fish populations globally, much also being fed to livestock. For details see

In addition to the other synthetic chemicals, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, i.e., “forever chemicals”) are now all in the news, primarily with freshwater fishes: and see: but in salmon, too:

According to a news report by Laura Reiley in the Tampa Bay Times, Mar. 21, 2018(in “ Farmed salmon are fed pellets made out of fish oil and smaller fish, ground-up chicken feathers, poultry litter (yes, that’s poop), genetically modified yeast, soybeans and chicken fat. Wild salmon get its lovely rose color from eating krill and shrimp. Farmed salmon, because it eats those pellets, is grey. To make it more appetizing to consumers, farmers add dyes to their feed.”

To support efforts to protect fish visit Put yourself in the mind of a farmed salmon in overcrowded floating enclosures, fish that are used to swimming thousands of miles from rivers to oceans and back. Atlantic salmon are one of nature’s greatest navigators. Their migration is a 4,000-kilometer (2,000 nautical miles) round-trip voyage. On a promising note, veterinarians in the U.K. are advocating better handling and humane killing methods be rapidly implemented: And more people are adopting vegan and vegetarian diets for environmental and humane reasons as well as for their own health reasons. More government support is needed for indigenous peoples like the Lummi Nation to restore coho salmon habitat for spawning and population recovery, their rivers being severely damaged by dams and the timber industry as I have witnessed during an aerial survey with a Lummi elder. (