Are burgers emptying the seas ?


In 2019 we are all aware of the threats on marine wildlife. Not only plastic waste and overfishing are emptying seas and oceans, but overall animals proteins consumption too. On top of fish, you might as well cut down on meat, eggs and dairy if you care about the state of the oceans.


Is animal agriculture causing the death of marine life ?

A recent report from the NGO Mighty Earth has highlighted the clear link between industrial farming and the biggest dead zone ever identified. Located in Gulf of Mexico it extends on 21 200 km2, almost as large as Sicily.

A dead zone refers to oceanic or coastal region with low oxygen levels, resulting in asphyxiation of marine life. But climate change and phytosanitary products spillage are not the only to blame for this issue.

In this case, the main polluter is the agri-food giant Tyson Foods – the largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the USA which provides big food chains such as McDonalds and Walmart. In 2016 the firm poured 55 millions tonnes of manure into the ocean. According to scientific research, the outbreak of dead zones is largely due to livestock manure, as well as fertilizers used to produce food to feed the animals.

Severe pollution due to intensive farming concerns also the French Atlantic coast, particularly Brittany. The region regularly experiences green algae proliferation on its shores. The phenomenon is mainly caused by porcine and bovine manure which is high in nitrogen – over than 7 millions of pigs and 750 000 dairy cows are farmed in the area. [1] [2]


Pigs and cats may be eating more fish than sharks and seals

According to Sea Shepherd, 40% of the fish caught are actually used to feed farm and domestic animals. In 2008, 14 million tons of wild fish were used to feed pigs and chickens.

Besides, the development of aquaculture contributes to overfishing. It requires between 2.5 and 5 kg of fish to produce 1 kg of farmed fish and between 10 to 20 kg for 1kg of farmed bluefin tuna.[3] You may want to think twice before having that next plate of sushi …

Marine wildlife plays an important part in the fight against global warming. Fish would contribute up to 15% to ocean carbon sinks, nay to 45% for the highest estimation. But oceans are likely to go without fish by 2048. One simple way to limit our personal impact on this issue is to switch to a plant-based diet.


Sources : 

The Guardian, 2017, Meat industry blamed for largest-ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico

The Guardian, 2017, Industrial meat production is killing our seas. It’s time to change our diets. 

Plant Based News, Oceanic dead zones quadruple since 1950 due to animal agriculture, scientists warn

CNews, 2017, La consommation de viande crée des zones mortes dans les océans

Sea Sheperd UK, We need to stop eating the oceans

Viande Info, La pêche

A propos de Juliette LACROIX

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