Ted Danson narrates a new documentary that reveals an inconvenient truth about our love affair with seafood: if unsustainable fishing practices continue, we could see the collapse of the world's fisheries as early as 2048.
'The End of the Line' takes aim at fish wholesalers and restaurant chains, such as celebrity haunt Nobu, that serve the most troubled species, including bluefin tuna and certain types of cod. Some businesses are already responding. A world without sushi-grade tuna sounds grim and is already becoming a reality for some Japanese chefs, who are experimenting with less appetizing terrestrial substitutes.
No need to remodel your diet in the image of Jeremy Piven's: it's still possible to enjoy fish responsibly. Choosing sustainable seafood can be tricky, but Danson urges consumers to avoid buying large, overharvested species and farm-raised carnivorous fish and to look for the Marine Stewardship Council certification label on seafood products at the grocery store.
Danson, who founded the international ocean conservation group Oceana, recently told the Huffington Post over email about his crusade to reform marine policies and rebuild the world's rapidly deteriorating fish populations.
On his own fish-eating veganism:
I make my decisions on eating based on both health and sustainability concerns. Oceana's mission isn't to prevent people from eating fish - quite the opposite. We want to ensure that our grandchildren will inherit a healthy and bountiful ocean.
On help from his Hollywood friends:
January Jones recently signed on to become a spokesperson for Oceana's campaign to save sharks. She went to Bimini and filmed a PSA at a shark research lab. Kate Walsh is going to help our campaign to help protect Sea Turtles (all species in US waters are currently listed as threatened and or endangered with extinction in part because of pressure from commercial fishing). Amber Valletta has helped with our campaign to get grocery stores to post mercury warning signs, and Adrian Grenier has signed on to help us this fall.
On the relationship between overfishing and pirate attacks:
Before the large nations of Europe and Asia started sending industrial fishing ships, western Africa was home to one of the most biodiverse marine environments in the world. Now the fish populations are a shadow of what they once were, and local fishermen are unable to catch fish to sell and feed their families. Overfishing absolutely contributes to hunger and poverty. Recent accounts even reported that the Somali pirates in the news recently may have been out-of-work fishermen.
On what seafood dishes might look like in a few decades:
I'm afraid we'll be reduced to eating jellyfish burgers and plankton stew. Seriously, scientists and even the United Nation all say that the trends are in the wrong direction if we don't change what we're doing. So time is not on our side - but the good news is that fish populations are pretty resilient. If given a chance, they will recover.
'The End of the Line' premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It was released in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and will expand to other markets this summer.