With the rise of movements such as organics and farm-to-table, our awareness of the foods we eat has greatly increased. However, this awareness often fails to extend to our fisheries and the seafood they catch. Currently, 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or overfished. Non-targeted fish or “bycatch” are often caught and killed in greater numbers than the targeted species. Despite this, we continue to see the ocean as a bottomless pit of resources that we can exploit to our heart’s content. This is no longer the case. Our actions, coupled with climate change, threaten our oceans, and the economies and food systems it supports.
But, there is hope. On January 27, President Biden signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of U.S. oceans and public lands by 2030, “30 by 30.” Through the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs), we can provide a refuge for our marine creatures to feed and reproduce, revitalizing our ocean ecosystem. MPAs have also been shown to increase fisheries catch, helping to sustainably feed our growing communities. Now is the time to call on our government officials to support the establishment of MPAs and create a more sustainable seafood industry.