National Geographic : 2010 Oct
• TOP PREDATORS INTERMEDIATE PREDATORS 10 pounds of level 3 fish When you eat 1 pound of a level 4 fish, it's like eating ... But if you consume 1 pound of level 3 fish, it's like eating ... LEVEL LEVEL 4 3 acquire it by trade," Pauly says. "It is the sheer power of wealthy nations to acquire primary production that is important." Nations with money tend to buy a lot of sh, and a lot of the fish they buy are large apex predators like tuna. Japan catches less than ve million metric tons of sh a year, a 29 percent drop from 1996 to 2006. But Japan consumes nine million metric tons a year, about 582 mil- lion metric tons in primary-production terms. ough the average Chinese consumer generally eats smaller sh than the average Japanese con- sumer does, China's massive population gives it the world's biggest seafood print, 694 million metric tons of primary production. e U.S., with both a large population and a tendency to eat apex sh, comes in third: 348.5 million metric tons of primary production. And the size of each of these nations' seafood prints is grow- ing. What the study points to, Pauly argues, is that these quantities are not just extremely large but also fundamentally unsustainable. Exactly how unsustainable can be seen in global analyses of seafood trade compiled by Wilf Swartz, an economist working on Seafood- Print. As the maps on page 86 show, humanity's consumption of the ocean's primary production changed dramatically from the 1950s to the early 2000s. In the 1950s much less of the ocean was being shed to meet our needs. But as a uent nations increasingly demanded apex predators, they exceeded the primary-production capacities of their exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 200 nautical miles from their coasts. As a result, more and more of the world's oceans had to be shed to keep supplies constant or growing. Areas outside of these zones are known in nautical parlance as the high seas. ese vast territories, the last global commons on Earth, are technically owned by nobody and every- body. e catch from high-seas areas has risen to nearly ten times what it was in 1950, from 1.6 million metric tons to around 13 million met- ric tons. A large part of that catch is high-level, high-value tuna, with its huge seafood print. What We Eat Makes a Difference Paul Greenberg is the author of Four Fish: e Future of the Last Wild Food.