Red meat is said to cause cancer. Should we then eat fish instead? Maybe or maybe not: Our need for fish has caused the oceans to be overfished and this is threatening the fish population.

The oceans do not only suffer from pollution, nearly 85% of the ocean’s fishing grounds are over-exploited.

There are 2 main causes for this:

  • Catching too many fish so there are not enough fish left to sustain the population
  • Catching the small fish together with the big ones so there are not enough adult fish left to breed.

Fishermen’s boats are no longer what they used to be.


Today they are more like floating factories, catching tons of fish on a single trip. Fishermen no longer are independent workers trying to make a living and feed their family, instead they are multinational companies that need to make a profit. Nets nowadays are so huge and have such a small maze, they capture every living creature around the boat, whether it is edible or not. This also results in a lot of bycatch, such as sharks. This bycatch is not fit for consumption but it’s killed anyway. And at the same time they sometimes destroy the bottom of the ocean by dragging the nets along the ship.

Fishing boats are like small factories.
Fishing boats are like small factories.

Are fish farms the solution then?

Some fish have become so rare that we need fish farms to breed them in order to meet the demand.  Millions of tons of carp, salmon and grouper are cultured in fish farms every year.

The controversial issue here is that for carnivore fish like salmon, we first need to catch a lot of small fish to feed the salmon.

Another huge problem with fish farms is that they are much more susceptible to diseases and parasites, because so many fish are stuck together in a small area. To prevent that, farmers mix antibiotics in the fish feed, which later gets in our food cycle and causes antibiotic resistance in people.


Should we stop eating fish and meat then?

What is left to eat if fish and meat are neither healthy nor sustainable? Should we all become vegetarians and poison ourselves with pesticides? Or should we turn to eating insects? It is time the world leaders start to take care of our food instead of only thinking of making profit and their next re-election.

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