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Oliver Banks and TJ Everson
“The ocean is like a checking account where everybody withdraws but nobody makes a deposit. This is what’s happening because of overfishing” -Enric Sala. This quote states that the fish are being taken out faster than they can reproduce and grow. Other technologies are allowing fishermen to catch more fish and sail for longer periods of time. As well as the high demand for fish all around the world. This is essentially the problem of overfishing.
A main problem of overfishing is the “open access” nature of fisheries. They have no or few property rights. There is a lack of incentive for fisherman to leave fish in water. Roughly one third of the world’s commercial fish stocks are being overfished such as cod that has been reduced by 94% and bluefin tuna. In addition, the UN.org shared that many fish species have decreased by 95%. According to Environmental Encyclopedia, about 90 million tons of fish are caught every year and over 30 million tons of dead or dying fish are dumped back into the ocean and never make it to the market. Other fish get caught in the nets that are not even what the fishermen want, essentially catching non-targeted fish and that has effects on the predator to prey ratios. Environmental Encyclopedia also shared that fishing was thought to be as a renewable source. Now it's stated that in 2020 the population of fish will be half of what it is in 1980 as well as 28% of the whole fish population are overfished or are on the verge of being overfished. The demand for fish is just too high and there are not enough fish to meet that demand. The problems that are occurring have a cause.
One of the main causes was that the offshore waters and coast waters of countries were not regulated and that was leaving the population of popular commercial fish vulnerable to overfishing. The current rules and regulations are not strong enough to limit fishing capacity to a sustainable level. According to World Wildlife the coastal communities around the world depend on fish as their primary source of protein. Overfishing threatens their long-term food security. According to Worldwildlife.org by underfishing fishermen and fisheries would not be able to make as much money as they do now by catching all this fish and most companies would go out of business. Worldwildlife also said that fisheries are being pushed by 30% of biological capability meaning the fish can reproduce fast enough. That creates the problem that most fish are close to extinct or are facing extinction. Not only does it pose a threat to the fish but too the predators as well. They have started to go way as well because there are no fish to feed on said GreenPeace.org. According to overfishing.org fishing fleets are two to three times larger than boats in the past, because they need the space to take present day catches of fish and other marine species and as what our oceans can sustainably support. Overfishing is a form of overexploitation where fish stocks are reduced to below acceptable levels.
Farming plant-eating fish such as tilapia, carp, and catfish solves this problem. Sustainability experts emphasize that eating plants- and algae- eating farmed fish diminishes overfishing and is more likely to be sustainable solution (Everett). According to reference.com Solutions to overfishing include changing fishing gear to decrease its negative effect on fish populations and the environment, releasing large fish, encouraging the development of small fishing endeavors, and managing fisheries through co-management. Another way to solve this problem is to have a designated area for fish to live and grow and make fishing in that area illegal, and overtime the fish will evolve and grow again. Changing the way catch limits are imposed can also help reduce overfishing. The good news is people are making a stand and from 2000 overfishing has decreased by 60% says edf.org.
In conclusion overfishing is a very serious thing that we as people need to act on. Not only is overfishing decreasing the fish population it is also taking many people's main source of protein. The way we could fix the overfishing problem is to start farming plant-eating fish and also making changes on the limit of fish caught.
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