In their book titled The Perfect Protein, co-authors Suzannah Evans and Andy Sharpless explain “how seafood is the healthiest, cheapest, most environmentally friendly source of animal protein on Earth.” Their mantra: Eat wild, eat local, eat small fish, and eat shellfish.

What do they see as the main incentive behind switching to seafood protein? In less than 40 years, the earth’s population will reach a distressing 9 billion. In order for people to sustain their diets, the world needs to consider adding wild fish to the program.

The problem, according to Evans and Sharpless, is that “wild fish populations are in decline because of overfishing, destruction of habitat, and bycatch.” Farmed fish are being fed small reduction fish—like anchovies, sardines and mackerel—which are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and could potentially “feed millions inexpensively.”

This situation can be salvaged, however. If 25 of the world’s top coastal nations implement just three steps—”enforce scientific quotas, protect nursery habitat, and reduce bycatch”—the planet’s wild seafood supply will become more biodiverse, well-managed, and abundant.

In the infographic below, a clear comparison is made between the global impact of choosing to eat seafood protein instead of livestock protein (which includes beef, poultry, pork, and other meats). Sharpless delves deeper into this concern, saying,

“Cattle and all other forms of livestock are fed enormous amounts of grain. Agriculture, much more than urbanization and even timbering, is the fundamental driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss on the planet. Wild fish don’t eat grain. They thrive entirely in the 71 percent of the planet that is oceans.”

The chart breaks down key resource components that the two different types of protein use, such as land and water use, as well as grain cultivation carbon dioxide emission. Evidently, wild fish spend less time harming the environment and depleting planet earth’s natural resources.

For a closer understanding of wild ocean fish, watch this video.

[via The Perfect Protein]