This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fish for Dinner?

Wild fisheries are rapidly diminishing due to over-fishing in response to the growing population and its demand for fish as a good source of protein. There have been two major responses to this, beyond simple hand-wringing: (1) regulate the amount of fishing allowed in order to conserve the stock of wild fish (which would, of course, drive up the price of fish and make it a luxury good); or (2) raise fish in farms in order to maintain a supply that would otherwise dwindle. The world has chosen the latter course (nearly half of all fish consumed in the world is farm-raised), but that raises a whole set of issues that are discussed by Paul Greenberg in Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (New York: Penguin Press, 2010). In particular, he notes that some fish are more easily domesticated than others. Salmon predominate because they are among the easier fish to farm, as are tilapia. Other popular fish, such as tuna, are much more difficult to raise in farms. The implication of this is that while we may be able to maintain the amount of fish available per person through aquaculture, the variety of fish available will almost certainly continue to decline.

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