Jackie Savitz: Save the oceans, feed the world!

Jackie Savitz: Save the oceans, feed the world!


You may be wondering why a marine biologist from Oceana would come here today to talk to you about world hunger. I’m here today because saving the oceans is more than an ecological desire. It’s more than a thing we’re doing because we want to create jobs for fishermen or preserve fishermen’s jobs. It’s more than an economic pursuit. Saving the oceans can feed the world. Let me show you how. As you know, there are already more than a billion hungry people on this planet. We’re expecting that problem to get worse as world population grows to nine billion or 10 billion by midcentury, and we can expect to have greater pressure on our food resources. And this is a big concern, especially considering where we are now. Now we know that our arable land per capita is already on the decline in both developed and developing countries. We know that we’re headed for climate change, which is going to change rainfall patterns, making some areas drier, as you can see in orange, and others wetter, in blue, causing droughts in our breadbaskets, in places like the Midwest and Central Europe, and floods in others. It’s going to make it harder for the land to help us solve the hunger problem. And that’s why the oceans need
to be their most abundant, so that the oceans can provide us as much food as possible. And that’s something the oceans have been doing for us for a long time. As far back as we can go, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of food we’ve been able to harvest from our oceans. It just seemed like it was continuing to increase, until about 1980, when we started to see a decline. You’ve heard of peak oil. Maybe this is peak fish. I hope not. I’m going to come back to that. But you can see about an 18-percent decline in the amount of fish we’ve gotten in our world catch since 1980. And this is a big problem. It’s continuing. This red line is continuing to go down. But we know how to turn it around, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today. We know how to turn that curve back upwards. This doesn’t have to be peak fish. If we do a few simple things in targeted places, we can bring our fisheries back and use them to feed people. First we want to know where the fish are, so let’s look where the fish are. It turns out the fish, conveniently, are located for the most part in our coastal areas of the countries, in coastal zones, and these are areas that national jurisdictions have control over, and they can manage their fisheries in these coastal areas. Coastal countries tend to have jurisdictions that go out about 200 nautical miles, in areas that are called exclusive economic zones, and this is a good thing that they can control their fisheries in these areas, because the high seas, which are the darker areas on this map, the high seas, it’s a lot harder to control things, because it has to be done internationally. You get into international agreements, and if any of you are tracking
the climate change agreement, you know this can be a very slow, frustrating, tedious process. And so controlling things nationally is a great thing to be able to do. How many fish are actually in these coastal areas compared to the high seas? Well, you can see here about seven times as many fish in the coastal areas than there are in the high seas, so this is a perfect place for us to be focusing, because we can actually get a lot done. We can restore a lot of our fisheries if we focus in these coastal areas. But how many of these countries
do we have to work in? There’s something like 80 coastal countries. Do we have to fix fisheries management in all of those countries? So we asked ourselves, how many countries do we need to focus on, keeping in mind that the European Union conveniently manages its fisheries through a common fisheries policy? So if we got good fisheries management in the European Union and,
say, nine other countries, how much of our fisheries would we be covering? Turns out, European Union plus nine countries covers about two thirds of the world’s fish catch. If we took it up to 24 countries
plus the European Union, we would up to 90 percent, almost all of the world’s fish catch. So we think we can work in
a limited number of places to make the fisheries come back. But what do we have to do in these places? Well, based on our work in the United States and elsewhere, we know that there are three key things we have to do to bring fisheries back, and they are: We need to set quotas or limits on how much we take; we need to reduce bycatch, which is the accidental catching and killing of fish that we’re not targeting, and it’s very wasteful; and three, we need to protect habitats, the nursery areas, the spawning areas that these fish need to grow
and reproduce successfully so that they can rebuild their populations. If we do those three things, we
know the fisheries will come back. How do we know? We know because we’ve seen it happening in a lot of different places. This is a slide that shows the herring population in Norway that was crashing since the 1950s. It was coming down, and when Norway set limits, or quotas, on its fishery, what happens? The fishery comes back. This is another example, also
happens to be from Norway, of the Norwegian Arctic cod. Same deal. The fishery is crashing. They set limits on discards. Discards are these fish they weren’t targeting and they get thrown overboard wastefully. When they set the discard limit, the fishery came back. And it’s not just in Norway. We’ve seen this happening in countries all around the world, time and time again. When these countries step in and they put in sustainable fisheries management policies, the fisheries, which are always crashing, it seems, are starting to come back. So there’s a lot of promise here. What does this mean for the world fish catch? This means that if we take that fishery catch that’s on the decline and we could turn it upwards, we could increase it up to 100 million metric tons per year. So we didn’t have peak fish yet. We still have an opportunity to not only bring the fish back but to actually get more fish that can feed more people than we currently are now. How many more? Right about now, we can feed about 450 million people a fish meal a day based on the current world fish catch, which, of course, you know is going down, so that number will go down over time if we don’t fix it, but if we put fishery management practices like the ones I’ve described in place in 10 to 25 countries, we could bring that number up and feed as many as 700 million people a year a healthy fish meal. We should obviously do this just because it’s a good thing to deal with the hunger problem, but it’s also cost-effective. It turns out fish is the most cost-effective protein on the planet. If you look at how much fish protein you get per dollar invested compared to all of the other animal proteins, obviously, fish is a good business decision. It also doesn’t need a lot of land, something that’s in short supply, compared to other protein sources. And it doesn’t need a lot of fresh water. It uses a lot less fresh water than, for example, cattle, where you have to irrigate a field so that you can grow the food to graze the cattle. It also has a very low carbon footprint. It has a little bit of a carbon footprint because we do have to get out and catch the fish. It takes a little bit of fuel, but as you know, agriculture
can have a carbon footprint, and fish has a much smaller one, so it’s less polluting. It’s already a big part of our diet, but it can be a bigger part of our diet, which is a good thing, because we know that it’s healthy for us. It can reduce our risks of cancer, heart disease and obesity. In fact, our CEO Andy Sharpless, who is the originator of this concept, actually, he likes to say fish is the perfect protein. Andy also talks about the fact that our ocean conservation movement really grew out of the land conservation movement, and in land conservation, we have this problem where biodiversity is at war with food production. You have to cut down the biodiverse forest if you want to get the field to grow the corn to feed people with, and so there’s a constant push-pull there. There’s a constant tough decision that has to be made between two very important things: maintaining biodiversity and feeding people. But in the oceans, we don’t have that war. In the oceans, biodiversity is not at war with abundance. In fact, they’re aligned. When we do things that produce biodiversity, we actually get more abundance, and that’s important so that we can feed people. Now, there’s a catch. Didn’t anyone get that? (Laughter) Illegal fishing. Illegal fishing undermines the type of sustainable fisheries management I’m talking about. It can be when you catch fish using gears that have been prohibited, when you fish in places where
you’re not supposed to fish, you catch fish that are the wrong
size or the wrong species. Illegal fishing cheats the consumer and it also cheats honest fishermen, and it needs to stop. The way illegal fish get into our
market is through seafood fraud. You might have heard about this. It’s when fish are labeled as something they’re not. Think about the last time you had fish. What were you eating? Are you sure that’s what it was? Because we tested 1,300 different fish samples and about a third of them were not what they were labeled to be. Snappers, nine out of 10
snappers were not snapper. Fifty-nine percent of the tuna we tested was mislabeled. And red snapper, we tested 120 samples, and only seven of them were really red snapper, so good luck finding a red snapper. Seafood has a really complex supply chain, and at every step in this supply chain, there’s an opportunity for seafood fraud, unless we have traceability. Traceability is a way where the seafood industry can track the seafood from the boat to the plate to make sure that the consumer can then find out where their seafood came from. This is a really important thing. It’s being done by some in
the industry, but not enough, so we’re pushing a law in Congress called the SAFE Seafood Act, and I’m very excited today to announce the release of a chef’s petition, where 450 chefs have signed a petition calling on Congress to support the SAFE Seafood Act. It has a lot of celebrity chefs you may know — Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Barton Seaver and others — and they’ve signed it because they believe that people have a right to know about what they’re eating. (Applause) Fishermen like it too, so there’s a good chance we can get the kind of support we need to get this bill through, and it comes at a critical time, because this is the way we stop seafood fraud, this is the way we curb illegal fishing, and this is the way we make sure that quotas, habitat protection, and bycatch reductions can do the jobs they can do. We know that we can manage
our fisheries sustainably. We know that we can produce healthy meals for hundreds of millions of people that don’t use the land, that don’t use much water, have a low carbon footprint, and are cost-effective. We know that saving the oceans can feed the world, and we need to start now. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

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67 thoughts on “Jackie Savitz: Save the oceans, feed the world!

  1. Bullshit. Plant protein is much cheaper, healthier more superior and more sustainable in every way.
    Stop killing sentient beings. Stop destroying our oceans. Go vegan.

  2. I think we should learn our lesson and abandon fish eating.

    The disparities in food supply is the only thing preventing the hungry being fed. Sweeping the seas for packets of pollution-filled protein is barley any better than the wasteful practices of your local factory farm. And it wantonly ignores decades of research that confirm that fish feel very real pain. Even fish farms require many times the amount of fish from the seas that we acquire from them.

    Arable land may be on the decline but that's because of wasteful agricultural practices. If we fed people with the land used to grow food for livestock then today we already have enough to feed everyone and the next 2 billion people to come along in the next few decades.

  3. Feed the world and end hunger and poverty?

    The Zeitgeist Movement – The Venus Project – A natural law / resource based economy – Veganism.

  4. The only hunger that gets fed is corporate greed. Mitsubushi has vast storage facilities for the highly endangered Blue Fin Tuna. To feed the starving? No. Financial investment.

  5. I love these TED talks. My only complaint is it's doesn't explore other possibilities. The way this video acts as though the only way to feed the hungry is to begin more fishing. I agree, but it needs to show other solutions. Like GM food or artificial meat. Not poplar, but we may not have a choice. We could also look to people like Norman Borlaug

  6. How about we stop focusing on what to do when climate change takes effect, and actually try to mitigate it. We wouldn't have to look at all these alternative strategies, if we just looked after the environment and lived more sustainably. It's cheaper and easier in the long run. We wouldn't have an issue with the predicted decrease of arable land, if we cut down our greenhouse gas emissions which lead to fluctuations in rainfall etc etc.

  7. I saw the video and the comparison between commercially produced proteins against proteins I would call "commercially extracted" from nature. I am curious how farmed fish would fit into the comparison.

  8. … there are 7,000 million people… and fish already feeds 4.5 million? How is this a good start again? Counting the decrease since peak production, that's still only ~6 million of the 7,000…

  9. chinese fish boats are shown while talking about illegal fishing. There is a huge bias in the America against China. They have a sense of moral superiority.  

  10. How about we stop raising cattle and use the land for growing ACTUAL food. The cost for making meat is crazy, wasteful and completely unnecessary! Oh and by the way, fish are full of PCBs and mercury – be my guest!! She talks about the amount of protein in fish as if it was a good thing!? World Health Organisation discovered we only need 2.5% of our calories from protein. They raised that to 5% "just to be sure". There is no medical term for a person who is lacking protein! And guess what, too much protein will cause you serious health problems.

  11. While I agree with Savitz that coastal regions are packed with fish and that we should take advantage of this, polluted waters and dangerously high mercury levels in said fish render her argument invalid. Before this can be done we must clean the ocean as it is no longer a suitable food source.

  12. Be fruitful and multiply got turned into virally multiply and choke the planet. Humans have become a planetary cancer spiralling into oblivion…

  13. I'm hoping to become a fisherman here in Norway, but to me the "safe seafood' campaign sounds like BS. the idea behind it is good, tho i would rather build a brand that stands for quality food, tagging fish adds cost. She did have some good points.  As for the comments here; I make a lot of my own food, like vegetables, and i hunt deer and fish, and that's probably the best way to get your food. We still need to eat less red meat, look at what happened during the WWII when people didn't have access to as much. The amount of heart attacks and disease went down. Fish is healthy, and delicious! 

  14. But climate change not only affects the land, but the oceans too. Even if the entire world adopted sustainable fishing regulations and no illegal or fraudulent fishing took place, anthropogenic climate change would result in massive die offs of marine life. I'm not saying there would be no fish left, but the expression "There's plenty if fish in the sea" would definitely lose its vigor. Also, a lot of comments suggest going vegan would be better, which isn't a bad idea for developed nations, but millions of people in developing nations don't get enough nutrition of any kind, and climate change is just going to horribly worsen their situation. However, I've also read that some scientists are trying to breed climate change resistant coral (not necessarily genetic engineering, but breeding the way one does with livestock) in order to protect coral reef biodiversity, and farmed fish could potentially have the ability to lessen the impact on wild populations (though that unfortunately has consequences too). Regardless, the whole world (including me, you, and everyone else) is going to have to get smarter about how we eat if we're going to feed a future of 10 billion people on a climate stricken planet.
    NOTE: yes we could set limits on how many children a family could have (which I totally support) but how many people do you honestly think would listen to that crap?
    PS: George Monbiot was right about those sheep…
    PPS: 6:27 that mom was downright sexy…

  15. @ 6:45 Fish is not the most cost effective protein, soy beans are and by many orders of magnitude more cost effective. But she only puts murdered animals on this list, why? a little bias?

    Because being vegan eating a plant based diet won't feed the world? why not?

    mathematically it makes sense if you consider the water it takes to grow plants to feed animals to feed people.

    well even in the ocean these animals are eating plants at the bottom of the food chain, so no matter what you are dependent on plants.

    eating at the bottom of the food chain is absolutely without question mathematically proven to be the most efficient for feeding the most.

    now consider how much fuel it takes to bring boats out into the ocean and back.

    also consider the health concerns with mercury in the fish and how polluted the oceans are.

  16. this could work if irresponsible people quit damaging the seas with oil & nuclear meltdowns..that should be an key issue here too;stopping pollution threats.

  17. …then came Fukushima… and oceans became highly contaminated with radioactive substances. So how to decrease population next?! Convince them to eat seafood. Goal will be achieved when cancer cases will increase (making big pharma even richer). Ok… ok… I'll take one more salad :o)
    PS: Don't even think whether that earthquake near Fukushima was all natural or not.

  18. BullSHIT.
    Half of the current food production is thrown away.
    The planet has more than enough to feed 1,000 million, the problem is not lack of food, THE PROBLEM IS DISTRIBUTION.

  19. The bottom line is: there are too many people on Earth. Already.

    We must either/both 1) decrease Earth's population, and most importantly 2) COLONIZE SPACE! It's about time we stop thinking of ourselves as exclusively Earthly and start thinking of ourselves as interplanetary.

  20. she wants to pretend that you can increase production and by setting quotas? Sometimes when you set environmental regulation the stocks never recover. FOR example Newfoundland cod. Case and point moratoriums along with other environmental regulation for some species need to be conducted in major developed countries such as china japan canada us and the euopean union. SHE's suggesting that we continue doing what we have been doing for the past 30 years, doesn't make any sense.  

  21. 6:45 this graph is a little silly.  Wild Fish is the only non-farmed thing on the graph, so obviously it's the cheapest – farms clearly cost money to run.

    How about you compare it to maintaining natural stocks of wild Buffalo, wild Antelope (ie: Deer, Moose, Kudu, etc), wild Rabbits, wild Birds, wild Boars, wild Zebra, wild Kangaroos, etcetc.  I'm sure these are all cheap options just like the wild fish, maybe even better.
    Kangaroos are an especially exciting option, they eat very little as they are quite efficient animals.  They are being seriously considered as an alternative to Beef farming.

  22. Jackie Savitz, I have to disagree with you.  I think we need to get our hands and nets out of the oceans and stop consuming fish altogether.  They will thrive without us and the oceans will be better off as well.  We can acquire the food, protein, and nutrition we need from plants alone.

    Additionally, we do not need as much protein as we have been led to believe.  Protein's main function is for growth – new tissue, bone, muscle etc.  We grow more during the first 18 months of our lives than at any other time; we triple in size.  Newborns consume breast milk and, of its total calories, contains less than 8% protein on average.  Conclusion: if less than 8% is sufficient for a newborn, it's sufficient for everyone.

    Moreover, it's almost impossible to not obtain enough protein from eating only plants.  All that dwindling arable land is currently be used to grow plants to feed to livestock and all that food would easily feed the world's population.  The issue is distribution.  We do not need to consume meat and we certainly do not need to consume fish to obtain enough protein.  Please, stop spreading the lie, raise your awareness, and help to enlighten others.

  23. Considering the rapid degrading of environment,and runaway toxic dumping's of all kinds from nations who have less concern for environment, -the ocean fish varieties are becoming a poison foods for humans.

  24. I am loving to taste the fish, those fish oil or other materials such charming for the Japanese. In my fatherland of the China, we don't respect the fish breeding. In the United States fish industry, they can created above 800 million dollars. Too many thing which are need all people support, included water filtering development, waste water treatment researches, Inland fish breeding and return to ocean projects, teaching all consumers to taste the fish products, encourage more people to do these businesses. I know that I am ugly but I am understood, the ocean is need to respect. The waste treatment and facilities, which part is able to make money and solution the ocean pollution. The energy is a huge limitation to push fish breeding and it doesn't easy to invite the Chinese respect the ocean value. Of course, I am wrong. However, I hope my fatherland of the China distribution government whose they will keep going to improve our waste water treatment facilities. Because the waste oil and metals, everything can exchange the money. Please forgive my ugly. I am just wanna my fatherland successful and running, supports these ocean regeneration projects. The oxygen is important than the money, so that we must have be careful kept the oxygen in water and development any other latest fuel system to solve human trouble.

  25. if you watch this documentary it shows the true state of our oceans the woman in this ted talk doesnt seem to think theres a real problem with our sea the truth shown in this documentary which is well made contrasts massively with the woman in the video http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sea-truth/

  26. People who want to stop illegal activities are funny. How do you want to stop illegal fishing, when our economy system needs unemployment? What those people do? Well, have to turn to illegal activities to make money and get food for em etc. System change, or nothing will work.

  27. There are a lot of comments on this video suggesting that quite a few of those people should NOT reproduce =/ …. But anyway, Love the video @TED! I always ignore the people talking about how we need to come up with solutions to fix world hunger b/c the solution is right in our faces

  28. This talk made allot of sens born and raised southern California.
    I watched the fisher collapse you would fish off one of the piers when I was a kid, and got allot of fish.
    By the time I became a adult that same pier you were lucky if you got a fish and if you did it was small and some fish were gone.
    The fish and game department put limits on some fish and they started to come back it was not over night but they are returning.
    Like the giant white sea bass was almost gone now you can read of them in the fishing reports again, and not small ones.
    yes what she talked about does work, but it's all of us to stop what is wrong pollution, over fishing, and put back what you don't need.
    Then clean up whatever pollution you find at your Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Oceans, as even a cigarette butt kills fish.
    Also join a group Surf Riders, Heal the bay, Deep Creek Fly Fisher, Long Beach Fly Caster or what is near you.
    Don,t be talker be do'er for talk is real cheap and action speaks louder then words and it gets thing's done.
    I've heard 1000 people say they want the pollution cleaned up I'll see maybe 5-10 doing it, this is why I believe in these kinds of groups and the ones named above clean over 100.000 pounds of pollution every year.
    Now what are you doing?      are you the cos or are you the solution?  
    Don't tell me show me.

  29. The only sustainable  fishery in the entire world is that of the Peruvian Anchovetta. Making commercial fisheries sustainable is a pipe dream, and a losing battle entirely. What Jackie Savitz has overlooked in this talk is the importance of sustainable aquaculture practices in the effort of saving our seas. If we grow our own fish, we do not need to remove any from the wild environment. Buy farmed fish, especially if it was farmed in a developed nation with mandatory sustainable management practices.

  30. vegetarian/ovo/dairy is better, vegan is hard work
    impossible for most people who are not rich
    i have been vegetarian, and hunter, i love animals as much as i love humans
    fish is protein till it runs out or gets poisoned

  31. She misses quite a few points here almost deliberately. First one being limiting fishing quotes drive up the price of fish which in the u.s is already the most expensive protein. Not saying she's wrong just stating the economics of the matter.

    Second she completely missed the elephant in the living room. Corral bleaching, Corral bleaching effects some of our richest fishing  grounds and corrals are the base of the food chain. No corral no fish. corral bleaching is on the rise and accelerating with warmer sea temps.
    Her intentions are great but the fact is she just blew a lot of bullshit out of her mouth .

  32. It's a huge problem that industrialized fleets that have ruined their own home coasts are now plundering the coasts of Africa, Antarctica, and pretty much anywhere without an efficient coastal guard. Somalia's piracy problems is in many ways a response to that shameful practice. Mixed in with a little bit of old fashioned jihad too, for sure, but if foreign fleets came stealing my livelihood, I would have been pissed angry too. 

  33. Large swathes of ocean need to lay fallow from time to time. How to enforce that, well that's a trickier question.

  34. We cannot escape our biological ties to the ocean; our evolved skin simply traps the salt-water in our blood which we can carry around with us everywhere we go.

  35. You can make enough food to feed the world at low prices but millions will still starve! Why? Greed, profit, government, corporations & banking, until we can change the fundamental problems with society nothing will change!

  36. And how about the radioactive waste that Japan dumped into the ocean, Potonium 210 and Cesium 137?

    Perhaps we should also put regulations on how much we pollute our environment.

  37. Can someone please explain to me as to why Jackie mentions the land consumed by wild fish and water in production? Seems kind of pointless imo, I mean they are fish that are wild so of course they don't take up land.. they live in the ocean from which area of useable land is unavailable anyways. Is water consumption just referring to the ice and water used for storage and cleaning of prepared fish?

  38. The planet is ending we need to save it if we didn't we will die and it will be a bad ending we know the planet will die but let's try now to save it stop being a joker and saying I don't care u will regret it and the anser is not vegans the anser is saving earth saving our planet lets unite and save the world!!

  39. Did nobody else notice that the magic point of fish going up is… population, NOT catches? Moreover, her examples of Norway establishing regulations occurs in 1986 when populations recover, yet global "peak fish" occurs in 1988. Is it not simpler to suppose that because of these regulations, the number of fish being caught and eaten went down, thus allowing populations to recover? If that's true, putting in place those regulations doesn't increase food production from the oceans, it reduces it. More abundance, but less food.

  40. This woman is completely ignorant – stop fishing and eat a mainly vegan diet is proven that will eradicate world hunger – but us humans are too selfish. Leave the ocean alone and it will restore itself naturally.

  41. These comments I see are mostly all so fiercely against this idea and instead offer vegan/vegetarianism which I have to say is a surprise. But they do prove points and point out flaws, maybe not in the nicest way

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