30 Day Zero Waste Challenge

We begin a series of Zero Waste Challenges on the topic of Food Loss and Waste (FLW) specific to the consumption of fish.  There is much written about food loss waste along the supply chain, from production to consumption, but I have not seen a direct connection regarding food waste and loss and the emergency our marine ecosystems face due to overfishing and the sickening scale of loss due to bycatch in so many fisheries.

(“Food “loss” actually occurs earlier in the food chain and usually behind the scenes. Due to inefficiencies in food production and processing, food can lose nutritional value or even need to be discarded before it reaches the consumer.” FAO)

Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

From the World Wildlife Fund: “Large industrial vessels, small artisanal boats, coastal fisheries, high seas fisheries… all around the world, fishing catches far more than is needed or wanted… Wherever there is fishing, there is bycatch. The main reason that bycatch occurs is because modern fishing gear is very strong, often covers extensive areas and can be highly unselective – meaning it catches not only the target species but also many other creatures as well.”

Watch this video from Squandering Our Seas from World Wildlife Fund International

Bycatch is the incidental capture of non-targeted fish, including juveniles, and other species such as dolphins, marine turtles and seabirds.

Each year, bycatch kills:

“Anything can be bycatch,” says Dominique Cano-Stocco, campaign director at Oceana. “Whether it’s the thousands of sea turtles that are caught to bring you shrimp or the millions of pounds of cod and halibut that are thrown overboard after fishermen have reached their quota, bycatch is a waste of our ocean’s resources. Bycatch also represents a real economic loss when one fisherman trashes another fisherman’s catch.”   Bycatch in the U.S. could amount to 2 billion pounds every year, equivalent to the entire annual catch of many other fishing nations around the world. One of the biggest concerns about bycatch is that the severity of the problem in many regions and fisheries still remains unknown. The National Marine Fisheries Service rarely reports comprehensive bycatch data and in fact has not published a nationwide estimate using data more recent than 2005—and has no intention of updating its estimates until 2017. In short, bycatch harms ocean wildlife, wastes important food resources and undercuts the economic success of our nation’s fisheries.” Oceana.org

More on Bycatch


1. Be informed

Read up a bit on the issues of overfishing, have a look at some articles on this site, see if you can find some information regarding your local situation. Keep in mind that while this is a global problem every local situation is different.

2. Know what you eat

If you eat fish make sure you know what you eat, and pick the ones with the lowest impact. Have a look at the Guide to Good Fish Guides for some tips.  GREAT LINK TO MANY SUSTAINABLE FISH GUIDES FROM GLOBAL NGO’s http://overfishing.org/pages/guide_to_good_fish.php

Spread the word – Let your voice be heard!

3. Other tips for fish eaters:

Food Loss and Food Waste

Quote of the Day:

“We don’t get to decide whether we can make a difference or not. We get to decide only if the difference we inevitably make is negative or positive. That’s it. Those are our only two choices. There are no neutral actions.” -Colleen Patrick Goudreau



Next –  Day 16: Make an audit of your own food waste
The full Food Loss/Waste series:

30 Day Zero Waste Challenge Home