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Gone fishing...

As you slice into that tender pink salmon - raised on the best diet that fish farms can provide - please note that it probably ate up to 5 pounds of ground up wild fish before pulling its own weight, so to speak.

Fish farms, it turns out, are not such a good catch after all. Built to ease pressure on natural breeding grounds, they are oddly cannibalizing the very fish stocks they were designed to protect.

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When it comes to our interaction with nature, many "good" ideas later require more good ideas to remedy them.

Our successes, ironically, are often those that demand the least human intervention.

For one such example, read Robert Cowen's story on page 18 - a simple and surprisingly effective idea for reviving wild fish stocks. This new approach is born of past experience. Less is more might be its motto.

And here's another simple idea: Breathe clean air. It might seem a necessity, but now it's also a basic human right.

On Friday, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights declared that every individual is entitled to live in surroundings free of toxic pollution and environmental degradation. Although that principle has been inherent in early declarations, now it is overt.

As Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, sai:, "It is time to recognize that those who pollute or destroy the natural environment are not just committing a crime against nature, but are violating human rights as well."

"To defend and improve the human environment for present and future generations...." is how the declaration reads. We can include the fish in there, too.

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Susan Llewelyn Leach is the assistant Ideas editor. Comments? E-mail: Ideas@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor