An adult orca was killed yesterday morning by fishing gear off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. He became caught in a gill net meant for cod.
This shocking photo of the dead orca was taken by Jack Lawson, a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Sadly, this image represents only one of the millions of unintended victims who perish each year due to fishing nets. Oceana estimates that nearly 40 percent of the world’s catch is bycatch – meaning species of animals that are not considered viable by the commercial fishing industry. This includes dolphins, sharks, tortoises, seals, and seabirds.
But the tragedy doesn’t stop there. Discarded fishing nets, or “ghost nets,” also cause a significant risk to marine wildlife. Scientists working with the nonprofit organization The Ocean Cleanup released a startling statistic that 46 percent of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area three times the size of France – is actually from discarded fishing nets.
If you can’t imagine how this is possible, understand that “commercial fishing” does not refer to the lone fisherman with a rod and reel (though that sucks too), I’m talking “trawlers,” – commercial fishing vessels that lay miles of net and literally rake the ocean of life. Google it and see what I’m talking about.
So, stop using straws and plastic bags – but for heaven’s sake, if you care about the oceans and the animals that live in it, stop eating fish.
I grew up in a seaside town so I understand how much people love to eat fish and seafood. Trust me when I say the vegan options out there that mimic the taste and texture of fish are seriously amazing. Companies like Ocean Hugger, Gardein, and Good Catch are making plant-based seafood alternatives that will blow you away. And there are incredible vegan sea-inspired recipes online that are remarkable too.
In terms of any health benefits people think they get from eating fish, you should know that pound for pound, fish can have as much cholesterol as meat. And because of all the pollution in our oceans, fish can also contain toxins such as mercury, PCBs, and, yes, plastic. You wanna eat that? No, you don’t. It’s much better to just get your protein, omega-3s, and DHA from healthy plant sources.
Let’s commit to stop eating fish and make horrific scenes like this a thing of the past.