Call him a snob, but Mark Bittman prefers wild fish to their bland, farmed brethren—yet at the rate things are going, “by midcentury, it might be easier to catch our favorite wild fish ourselves rather than buy it in the market,” he writes in the New York Times. In just decades, overfishing has taken a serious toll on a wide range of species, not to mention our taste buds.
“We’ve totally depleted the upper predator ranks; we have fished down the food web,” says an environmental expert. And much of what we catch isn’t even being eaten by humans; it’s being ground into fish meal, an “astonishingly inefficient” diet for farm animals, including other fish. But there’s hope: If we can “broaden our appetites” and lay down some fishing-industry ground rules, we can hang on to a sustainable—if somewhat limited—wild-fish diet.