Australian Scientist Blames Cat Owners for Overfishing


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 25, 2008

People who feed fish to their pet cats are contributing to overfishing and the worldwide decline of fish stocks, says a scientist at Deakin University in Australia.

Dr. Giovanni Turchini says the global cat food industry annually procures 2.48 million metric tons of forage fish, which he calls a "a significant amount of fish that may be suitable for direct human consumption."

"In Australia, pet cats are eating an estimated 13.7 kilograms of fish a year, which far exceeds the Australian [human] average per capita fish and seafood consumption of around 11 kilograms," Turchini told reporters. "Our pets seem to be eating better than their owners."

Forage fish like herring, menhaden, anchovies and sardines are small, rapidly breeding fish that are eaten by larger fish and are harvested for fishmeal and fish oil production. Many scientists say overfishing these stocks is a threat to marine ecosystems worldwide.

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