The world’s fisheries are a huge resource that our society has overused and therefore, has caused a decline in fish stocks, which has lead to a world fishery crisis. Fish have been a vital resource for many years and are essential to the lifestyles of many people. It is also a huge economic industry for many countries. Over the past decade, fish stocks have been exploited and we have witnessed a huge decline; fish farms were created as an alternative. The fishing industry is a multibillion-dollar industry and has now created empty nets due to years of overfishing, exploitation, and inhumane fishing techniques.
Overfishing is a non-sustainable use of the oceans caused by a degradation of the system due to catching too many fish for the system to support. When too many fish are caught, they cannot sustain their population, which leads to there being no more fish to be caught. Overfishing is caused because of fishing fleets worldwide that are three times larger than needed to sustain our population. “Over 25% of all the world's fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. Another 52% is fully exploited; these are in imminent danger of overexploitation (maximum sustainable production level) and collapse.
Thus a total of almost 80% of the world's fisheries are fully exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish stocks are already gone. ” (overfishing. org). An example of overfishing is the collapse of the cod fishing industry in Newfoundland in 1992, which collapsed due to the mismanagement of overfishing and fisheries. This lead to the loss of over 40,000 jobs and had a devastating effect on the economy. The cod fishing industry in Newfoundland is still recovering today and will probably never be the same as it once used to be. The reality of modern fishing is that the industry is dominated by fishing vessels that far out-match nature's ability to replenish fish. Giant ships using state-of-the-art fish-finding sonar can pinpoint schools of fish quickly and accurately. The ships are fitted out like giant floating factories - containing fish processing and packing plants, huge freezing systems, and powerful engines to drag enormous fishing gear through the ocean. Put simply: the fish don't stand a chance. ” (greenpeace. org).
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Overfishing must be stopped because if it is not, the fish stocks around the world will collapse and the fish that we are used to eating such as Tuna, Cod, Halibut, Swordfish, and Salmon will no longer be available to us and alternatives will have to be sought after. Bottom trawling is a common practice used by most fishing vessels and it is very destructive to the ocean and all of its inhabitants. Bottom trawling is when huge nets are dragged along the ocean floor. These nets have large metal plates to keep the bottom down and have wheels attached to them, crushing almost anything that crosses their path.
Bottom trawlers have no care for the environment and destroy deep-sea life forms that take years to recover. Since these nets are dragged along the sea floor, it is hard to manage what is caught. Many unwanted mammals are caught in these nets, which are referred to as bycatch. “It has been estimated that a staggering 100 million sharks and rays are caught and discarded each year. Tuna fisheries, which in the past had high dolphin bycatch levels, are still responsible for the death of many sharks.
An estimated 300,000 cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) also die as bycatch each year, because they are unable to escape when caught in nets. ” (greenpeace. org). “Shrimp trawlers capture the most bycatch, between 2 and 10 pounds of sea life for every one pound of shrimp. All seven species of marine turtle are endangered because each year about 12,000 die as bycatch. ” (Desonie 135) Overfishing is terrible for our oceans and for us as humans. Much of the fish caught goes to waste and wasting a valuable resource is extremely dangerous.
If overfishing doesn’t stop, fish stocks will become depleted and at the rate we exploit the fish stocks, there is not much time. Marine protected areas or marine reserves have been implemented in some areas to stop fishing when a species becomes endangered. “Large-scale marine reserves are areas that are closed to all extractive uses, such as fishing and mining, as well as disposal activities. Within these areas there may be core zones where no human activities are allowed, for instance areas that act as scientific reference areas or areas where there are particularly sensitive habitats or species. ” (greenpeace. org).
These marine reserves are not put in place just to stop overfishing, they are also put in place to protect certain species from water pollution. Marine reserves are very effective and highly significant because they allow the endangered species to start recovery and to try to get back to the stage it was once at. Industrial fishing is not allowed in a marine protected area, and in some, no recreation at all is allowed. The crisis of empty nets that the world; a fishing industry is facing is the fishing industries own doing. Years of uncontrolled and unmonitored fishing have lead to the depletion of many fish stocks around the world.
The fishing industry is vital to many people around the world and is a way of life for many and it would be detrimental to the global economy if fish stocks around the world were to collapse. This will happen soon if we don’t stop. Governments need to put more set of laws on fishing to try and stop the overfishing. However, it is hard to stop because most of it occurs in international waters. This is where the United Nations needs to step in and help out. Fishing is great for the economy but the way that the fishing industry operates will only destroy it and turn it into something negative in the end.
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