In her 2013 TED Talk, marine biologist Jackie Savitz opened the discussion by explaining how, “Saving the ocean is more than an ecological desire, more than an economic pursuit. Saving the ocean can feed the world.”
Savitz recognized the relationship between protecting biodiversity and human life. Fish, according to Savitz, are the most cost-effective food source, require less fresh water than irrigating livestock farms, have an extremely low carbon footprint and require the least amount of land. In addition, fish are a source of protein, especially for people who are malnourished.
In order to utilize fish, however, overfishing must first be combated. The world catch continues to decrease every year due to equipment that destroys habitats and increases bycatch. Furthermore, there are a lack of quotas and habitat sanctuaries for fish to reproduce.
In 2012, after reading a publication in The Boston Globe about seafood fraud, Sen. Edward Markey was inspired to address the issue.
In March of 2013, Markey proposed the Safety and Fraud Enforcement Act, or SAFE Seafood Act, to Congress.
This Act, which has been largely championed by Oceana, would implement efforts to ensure the traceability of fish such as increased inspections, standardized naming and better interagency coordination.
Just before the legislation was proposed, Oceana released a study finding that one-third of the 1,215 fish samples they tested were mislabeled.
In addition to mislabeling, over fishing is a huge problem that Savitz suggested needs to be addressed as the solution for world hunger.
Savitz believed that environmental work and humanitarian work are not competing forces but rather complimentary to one another. By focusing on saving the oceans and replenishing fish, food availability would also be increased for a growing population of malnourished people.
Savitz said that saving the ocean can in fact save the world’s hungry.
To create awareness surrounding the bill, Oceana introduced a petition that several celebrity chefs, such as Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali, signed.
Oceana is still extremely dedicated to passing the bill, as it will not only better the earth, but also those who inhabit it and suffer from hunger.
– Heather Klosterman