by Michael Parrish DuDell
Categories: Animals, Eats
Tags: .

Did Ted Danson just get himself kicked out of our PETA Prime race? Maybe! Just days after Ecorazzi asked YOU to decide who should be PETA Prime’s first vegetarian spokesperson, one of our contestants, Ted Danson, is causing some serious fish controversy.

Ted started Oceana — the largest international group focused solely on ocean conservation — 20 years ago to help save the oceans inhabitants. Recently Danson spoke out against the traditional British dish of fish and chips, claiming it’s causing the near extinction of an endangered species of shark. Danson revealed that the “fish” from said fish and chips could in fact be “spiny dogfish,” a rare species of shark that is on the World Conservation Union Critically Endangered List.

Even though Danson admits that, “in general we are over fishing all our fisheries around the world,” he has no interest in quitting HIS OWN fish habit. Ted said: “I love fish and I love fish and chips. I am not going to stop eating fish and chips. Not eating fish and chips is not going to have an impact necessarily. What is needed is to become an activist to try to get the policy changed on shark fishing.”

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be Bitter Bob over here, but shouldn’t the founder of the world’s largest ocean conservation group avoid oceanic products? I know that some fish-eaters call themselves vegetarian, but consuming the very thing you are working to save seems like a pretty backwards idea to me. What do you think Ecorazzi readers? Is Ted Danson an ocean hypocrite? Chime in and share your thoughts!

  • Elena

    It seems that as long as you are consuming responsibly you can still eat fish. A vegitarian diet is not right for everyone. There have been many societies of peoples who have eaten fish and meat, but have done so with respect to the land, sea and the animals. I see no problem with being an activist, and still eating fish. In fact, I carry around a list of eco-best fish with me from the daily green. If want’s on the menu isn’t on the list, I avoid eating it.

    Those are unecessarily high standars to hold a person too. Obviously Ted Danson is NOT an oceanic hypocrite.

  • Lee Goble

    I say, Practice what you preach or get off the bandwagon.
    simple.

  • nurzu

    The headline of this article printed in the Telegraph was clearly out of context from the way the actual piece was written. He did not wage an attack at all if you actually read the piece. He was making a point that the Spurdog shark species is a UK symbol of the larger problem facing the world’s oceans as a whole – overfishing and science based management of fisheries.

    Headlines are unfortunately too often a way to get attention, and in this case, unfortunately it was spun completely the wrong direction. Ted Danson is truly passionate about this issue and would never argue what people should or shouldn’t do in their personal lives. What he is saying is – chose responsibly when you can, but at the end of the day the thing that is going to make the biggest difference is being an advocate and influencing policy.

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    Hmmm I’m leaning toward the practice what you preach philosphy… But could TD consume fish responsibly? The problem is so often we’re not even sure what we’re eating (as evidenced by ER’s great post about Nobu. Even *I* have eaten there in the past and had no idea I could be eating endangered tuna. I’d say the best way is the safe way. Unless you caught it yourself (and that’s not for me) probably best not to eat it at all. ESPECIALLY if you started Oceana (which I give to incidentally and support and love the organization)

  • VeggieTart

    If you’re going to rail against fish and chips, you maybe ought not eat fish and chips. And if you eat fish, you are partially responsible for the overfishing he also rails against. It drives me nuts when groups talk about conservation of fish–so they can eat them.

    And yes, the headline could have been written better–saying “unsustainable fish” rather than “fish and chips”

  • Juliana Stein

    Oceana actually does advocate that people eat sustainable seafood as a way of helping the problems facing our oceans. Their position is that this in itself is not going to be what saves them in the end. This is why Ted Danson isn’t blaming Britons or their beloved fish dish for the near extinction of Spurdog sharks – he is saying – yes, people should eat responsibly but they should become active on a higher level if they really want to reverse the tide.

    You can download a sustainable seafood wallet guide through Oceana’s website at:
    http://www.oceana.org/north-america/publications/

    All this said, there are obviously still disputes in the green community about whether you can eat meat/fish and still be green. But, it’s important to recognize that when it comes to the goal of keeping the world’s fisheries from collapsing, it’s not necessary for people to stop eating fish all together. According to the UN, fishing is central to the livelihood and food security of 200 million people, especially in the developing world, while one of five people on this planet depends on fish as the primary source of protein. Therefore, we should continue making sure that we keep fish stocks abundant so people – especially those most reliant on this natural resource – can maintain their livelihoods.

  • http://www.greenpromise.com Dawn

    Practice what you preach. If you don’t, you definitely lose some credibility in my opinion. He does get points for speaking out, but it left me questioning his motives.

  • Josh

    The problem isn’t eating fish, the problem is the methods for catching fish that are destructive to the environment and other species.

    It’s kind of like porn, there’s nothing wrong with consuming it, but the methods for creating it can sometimes be dangerous and harmful.

  • Maiza

    Ted Danson has done more for the planet than any of you people sitting there typing out judgments against him.
    He has NEVER claimed to be a vegetarian, ergo he is not a hypocrite.

  • Cid Martins

    I believe the key word is ‘equilibrium’…

    Overfishing, overhunting and excessive deforestation are among the main causes for our planet’s slow destruction… The equilibrium has been broken long ago!

    I am a vegetarian and don’t ‘find very amusing’ the way how animals are killed…

    Nevertheless Ted Danson isn’t a vegetarian and so he eats animals. However I have to agree that as a funder of an organization named ‘Oceana’ (of which I don’t know much), in my opinion he loses a bit of public credibility by eating fish… although I think that the best thing (right after being a vegetarian :) ) is to eat only species which are not endangered ones!

    It’s very hard to fight for what you believe in and live your life accordingly! It’s a tough world!
    Not everything is black and white…

    So let’s not throw the first stone! Until proven guilty , everyone who tries to change the world for the better should be respected and supported…

  • Gene Miles

    NMFS over protection of Spiny Dogfish has resulted in the almost total destruction of North East groundfish fishery. By taking away mortality, the spinys have consumed all of the food sources that also supported other species. Now they are eating other foodfish. Contrary to popular belief,dogfish are voracious predators. Shifting to ecosystem management instead of species specific management is now the popular trend. Spur of the moment, knee jerk decisions are never good. Environmentalists in government are also not good. Law based on science is what is needed. Not laws based on emotion.
    Also I believe that when a species is found to be overfished, commercial exploitation should be stopped first before recreational fishing is banned.
    My .02