Inside Ideas
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Inside Ideas

Nicholas P. Sullivan on Inside Ideas

The changing story of the seafood on your plate

The global seafood industry has gone through a serious transformation in recent decades in a bid to secure a sustainable future for itself. It is an ongoing journey writer Nicholas P. Sullivan explores in his wonderfully researched new book: The Blue Revolution — Hunting, Harvesting, and Farming Seafood in the Information Age.

Sullivan — a graduate of Harvard University, is Senior Fellow at The Fletcher School’s Council on Emerging Market Enterprises and a Senior Research Fellow at its Maritime Studies Program. He is also my guest today on Inside Ideas.

“A lot of the perceptions that people had about the state of fisheries are based on things that were happening in the 1990s where there was incredible over-fishing and the depletion of some iconic stocks like the Atlantic cod and the Norwegian salmon farming, which had all kinds of negative environmental effects,” Sullivan said. “But in the last 20 years or so there’s been a major shift: a behavioural shift, and policy shift, towards more sustainable and restorative wild-captured and farming techniques — and I wanted to tell this story.”

As well as charting this progress, Sullivan also writes about the problems that still persist, many of which he shows can, and in some cases are, being overcome with the introduction of technology and new innovations. These game changing solutions, he says, are inspiring a new generation of pioneers to make a climate friendly future for the marine fishing sector a reality.

“In the US 45 stocks that were overfished in 2000 have now been rebuilt, and there are others that are in the rebuilding phase so that has been a positive,” he said. “It clearly is not happening everywhere in the world and there is a lot of illegal fishing on the high seas but even that is becoming more transparent with satellite data. One group, called Global Fishing Watch, shows satellite maps of all the boats on the sea in real time, so you can tell who’s fishing where. That has led to a lot of arrests of illegal fishermen on the high seas.”

This book will speak to anyone in the industry, as well as environmentalists, and all lovers of seafood. So I am delighted to welcome the author onto the show to talk about one of the world’s most important sources of protein — and livelihoods.


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Marc Buckley

Marc Buckley

Marc Buckley is on a mission to empower Billions of Global Citizens to live an Adaptive Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability within planetary boundaries.