Hi guys! Today I’m going to talk about overfishing. Overfishing is a large topic to tackle, but I’m going to try. For some reason, I’ve been feeling like doing more posts on world events that have to do with nature/animals, so we’ll go with it. Also, side note: I’m camping right now, this was a scheduled post, so you’ll get another park review next week!
What is overfishing?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, overfishing is “to fish to the detriment of (a fishing ground) or to the depletion of (a kind of organism).”
Simply put, overfishing is to fish so much in a certain area that the organisms that naturally live there are in a low supply. If you catch more organisms than those that you are leaving in their natural habitat, that’s overfishing.
How does it happen?
Because human populations are increasing, fisheries are catching more fish. When fisheries catch more fish, the fish don’t have time to reproduce enough to combat the extra fish that are being taken and their populations decrease.
Another thing that can happen to reduce the fish populations (other than pollution) is bycatching. The nets that fishing companies use can accidentally catch fish that they don’t mean to catch, and that’s a dead fish that’s not being used for anything. It died for no reason.
There are several different ways to catch commercially fish: purse seines, trawls, gill nets, and longlines. All of them can easily catch fish that they didn’t mean to. Purse seines are basically big nets that enclose schools of fish like a bag or purse. They can easily catch other fish in the area while dragging them up. Trawls are like scoops that drag on the ocean floor. They can catch unwanted animals and ruin the sea floor ecosystem by scraping it up. Gill nets are like a wall of netting that can easily catch large organisms such as dolphins, killing them even though they won’t be used. A Longline is a line of buoys and fishing line with large, baited hooks hanging down from it. They are possibly the least dangerous of the fishing systems. They could catch things that they’re not meant to, but it is not a common occurrence.
Now, I’m not saying fishing is a terrible industry or anything, it helps the economy, it keeps the populations from inflating to an unmanageable level, I just think that we should explore other ways of catching fish that are less risky or damaging to the environment.
Why should we care?
If we lose fish, we will lose food, and a large part of our economy and the fishing industry would collapse. The ocean environment would also be thrown off as fish are a large part of that food chain, they act as food for many organisms and prey on others.
How can it be fixed?
Well, this is a complex question. Fisheries depend on the money that they make, and communities are supported by the fishing industry, so we can’t just stop fishing completely.
In order to manage the fishing industry, in some areas there are exclusive economic zones where anything found up to two hundred nautical miles offshore belong to the bordering country. This is not a perfect solution as some countries choose not to enforce regulations that are beneficial to the overfishing cause.
Some countries, however, choose to restrict the catching of juveniles, for example, to allow a next generation to form. Or they might choose to prevent egg laying females from being caught. They can also censor the time when fishing can take place, to allow more fishes to be born.
As you can see, this is a complex topic that experts are struggling to figure out, and I only skimmed the surface. Another problem with creating rules is that they are hard to enforce as it is a large ocean that is impossible to completely secure.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Did you learn anything new? What is your take on this topic? Let me know in the comments!