Marine life around the world is facing a rapid epidemic. It’s a challenge that could have dire consequences if not resolved immediately. Worst of all, it’s a problem that has been caused by humans; and there are no signs of slowing down. The issue I’m referring to is the impact of global overfishing.
Fishing and traditional commercial fishing isn’t necessarily bad for the environment. In fact, fishing helps control fluctuations in aquatic life. It’s an essential part of keeping the world’s marine ecosystem in line. But, fishing and commercial fishing can become adverse when they incorporate overfishing tendencies. So that begs the question, what exactly is overfishing, and why is it so harmful?
What is Overfishing?
According to National Geographic, “Overfishing is simply the taking of wildlife from the sea at rates too high for fished species to replace themselves.” Several aquatic species have been victims of this treacherous method of fishing. Some include:
Because of overfishing, these sea creatures have either come close to extinction or are currently on the brink of extinction. In fact, 5% of the world's fish species are currently in danger of extinction. The damage overfishing causes can have long-term effects on marine life and humankind as well.
How Does Overfishing Affect Humans?
Cultural cuisines range from a variety of dishes. Many include chicken, pork, beef, and especially fish as the primary animal protein. With over 7 billion people on the planet, fish consumption accounts for over 15% of the population. In several regions around the world, fish is the only affordable option. This is where it gets messy!
Overfishing has caused the market price for fish to skyrocket for the 15% that consume it. The reason for this is because fish populations cannot reproduce fast enough to meet consumer demand. With fewer aquatic options, the more expensive and rare they become to consumers. This makes it difficult for impoverished countries to afford and maintain a healthy diet. But not only does overfishing directly affect an individual’s wallet, but it cripples an entire economy.
Roughly 820 million people are employed by a fishing, fish packaging, or fish associated organization. When standard fishing practices become aggressive overfishing methods, several of these employees are at risk of losing their jobs. It’s estimated that $50 billion is lost yearly because of this epidemic. As tragic as these facts are, it’s the environment that is taking much punishment.
How Does Overfishing Affect the Environment?
Our oceans and seas are suffering because of overfishing. Every aquatic creature plays a delicate and significant role in keeping the world’s ecosystem balanced. When one species of fish is affected by overfishing, the whole marine ecosystem feels its loss. Some examples of environmental effects include:
- 90% of predatory fish are gone
- 30 years of finning has affected every species of shark
- Biodiversity has disappeared, which is slowly killing coral reefs
- The tuna population is close to collapsing completely
Again, these are just some examples of the devastation of overfishing. It’s a problem that can no longer be ignored. It needs to be stopped, but how?
How Can You Stop Overfishing?
Believe it or not, you can play a role in stopping the practice of overfishing. Environmental laws and regulations need to be put in place to control the rate of fishing worldwide. Encourage friends and family to read this piece and support organizations trying to implement steps to make these laws come to life. Also, continue to educate yourself about different sea life forms like The Six Types Of Sharks That Call SeaQuest Home or The Magical Moon Jellyfish.
Lastly, visit SeaQuest Folsom,California to learn more about aquatic life’s delicacies. While you’re there, learn about the SeaQuse Cares initiative, which tackles several wildlife issues, including overfishing.