Is Overfishing Still A Thing?

Is Overfishing Still A Thing?

(Cover image credit: Seas at Risk)

Simply put, YES. 

Hard facts about the ocean and fishing industry

(image credit: New Scientist)
  • Overfishing: This is the catching of fish at a rate faster than they can reproduce, leading to the collapse of fisheries; almost 30% of stocks are overfished and 60% fully fished.
  • Bycatch: This refers to the unintentional capture of non-target marine animals that will end-up discarded dead, resulting in an estimated 38.5 million tonnes of bycatch annually, including endangered species.
  • Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing: IUU fishing violates laws and contributes to problems like overfishing and habitat destruction, with 11-26 million tonnes of fish caught illegally each year.
  • Damage to the ocean floor: Practices like bottom trawling can damage the ocean floor, destroying habitats and affecting marine life.
  • Climate change: Warming oceans cause more acidity and rising sea levels, threatening marine life and coastal habitats.

Hard facts about Ocean Farming

(image credit: Flylords Mag)
In this image, salmon flesh is being eaten away by a parasite found in the ocean farm.
  • Water pollution: Ocean farming can pollute water with nutrients, antibiotics, and other chemicals. This can harm marine ecosystems and make the water unsafe for human consumption.
  • Waste production: Ocean farming produces a lot of waste, which can pollute the water and surrounding environment. This waste can include fish feces, uneaten food, and chemicals used to treat diseases.
  • Disease transmission: Ocean farming can spread diseases to wild fish populations. This is because farmed fish are often kept in crowded conditions, which makes them more susceptible to disease. When these diseases spread to wild fish populations, it can cause widespread mortality.
  • Habitat destruction: Ocean farming can destroy marine habitats, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. This is because farmed fish are often kept in cages or pens, which can damage these delicate ecosystems.
  • Bycatch: Ocean farming can also lead to bycatch, which is the unintentional capture of non-target marine animals. This can include dolphins, whales, and turtles.

Things to know about fishnet

(image credit: WWF)

  • Pollution: Discarded fishnets can break down into microplastics, leading to 51 trillion particles in the ocean, which may enter the food chain and are linked to health problems like cancer and reproductive issues.
  • Entanglement and Strangulation: Abandoned or discarded fishnets, often referred to as "ghost nets," can entangle marine creatures such as turtles, dolphins, whales, and fish. This can lead to injury, suffocation, or death.
  • Microplastics Formation: Over time, these nets can break down into tiny plastic particles known as microplastics. Microplastics are a pervasive form of pollution that can be ingested by marine organisms, causing internal physical harm.
  • Habitat Destruction: Fishnets can damage delicate marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seabed habitats, leading to the displacement of marine species and a decrease in biodiversity.

What do we do now?

Eat less seafood; this is really it. There are no labels in the market right now that are truly trustworthy. It's almost impossible to monitor any fishing activity to a point where you can prove absolute sustainable and responsible fishing action. The ultimate way to protect our ocean and water life is to eat less of them. I started this commitment a year ago, and I hope you will consider it too.

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