Contact: Kim Barnhardt
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Fish consumption guidelines not environmentally sustainable
Recommendations to increase fish
consumption because of health benefits may not be environmentally
sustainable and more research is needed to clarify the benefits of
omega-3 fatty acids, write Dr. David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital
in Toronto and coauthors in an analysis in
agencies and the medical community around the world recommend the
consumption of fish for health benefits and people in developed
countries have been urged to increase their consumption of fatty fish 2
to 3 fold.
However, there has been insufficient attention
given to studies that fail to show a significant health benefit from
omega-3 fatty acids and the evidence that while some may benefit,
others may not. This analysis looks at the evidence for the health
benefits of fish.
The authors point out that even at current
fish consumption levels, global fisheries are in severe crisis as
demand outstrips supply and declining stocks are being diverted from
local markets to affluent markets, with serious consequences for the
food security of poorer countries and coastal communities. Global
stocks have been declining since the late 1980s and there have been
more than 100 cases of marine extinctions.
"These trends imply
the collapse of all commercially exploited stocks by mid-century,"
state the authors. "Yet the dire status of fisheries resources is
largely unrecognized by the public, who are both encouraged to eat more
fish and are misled into believing we live in a sea of plenty."