Most NGO’s assume that Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) are an unmitigated good, with little thought to their impact on the global food system.
But, converting large areas of productive fisheries to no-take zones, while appealing to NGO’s, actually may increase global environmental degredation.
The reason, says Professor Ray Hilborn in our latest video, is that marine protein is essential to global food systems, and as countries get richer and consumer more protein, you must ask where that protein will come from.
Already one quarter of all the ice-free landmass on earth is used for grazing animals. Growing and feeding beef cattle is very land and energy intensive.
Hilborn says “Most ecolabeling systems make no connection between what we do in the oceans and what we do elsewhere.”
He goes on to say that unless you consider how marine protein is going to be replaced, such a narrow view of priorities could make global envinronemtnal problems worse, not better.
To supply the current level of marine protein from land based animals would require an area 22 times larger than all global rainforests put together.