Americans’ seafood consumption—16 pounds per person per year—is at an all-time high. But the facts on fish are more confusing than ever. Health experts say we still aren’t getting enough of it, while marine biologists swear that if we eat any more, we’ll wreck the planet. Thankfully, there are responsible ways to consume seafood without contributing to the damage.
But things are looking up. In September, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, published a paper endorsing a "catch-share" model of fish harvesting that could halt—and even reverse—the downward trend. This groundbreaking method divides ownership of fisheries among individuals, ensuring that fishermen comply with catch limits. "Now the answer is out there," says Tim Fitzgerald, a marine scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund. "It’s just a matter of implementing this plan on a large scale." Still, such a process could take years. And even if we do get our national fisheries under control, more than 80 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad.
Next: The Ethics of Consuption