Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Overfishing Part 3

Over 70% of our planet is covered by the oceans.  Their biodiversity is unparalleled, and is at constant threat due to human impact, mismanagement, and overfishing.

Overfishing is defined as continuously catching more fish and marine life than the ecosystem can produce, resulting in loss of species and biodiversity.  Fishing is a way of life in many parts of the world, and many cultures still rely on fish as their most abundant source of nutrition.  Scientists warn that overfishing may change the oceans in profound ways in which we can't even imagine.  If this trend continues, fish may be considered a rare and expensive delicacy.

In many cases, the fishing industry is given access to fish stocks before the impact of their fishing can be assessed, and fishing regulations do not provide adequate protection for wildlife.  Giant ships use sonar to pinpoint schools of fish, making it much easier to fisherman to capture fish, worsening the problem.

Populations of top predators, which are a key indicator of ecosystem health, are disappearing at an alarming rate. As much as 90% of the stock of large fish that we love to eat (such as tuna, swordfish, marlin, cod, etc.) have been depleted since industrial fishing began in the 1950s. The collapse of fisheries and the disappearing stock of fish can also create job loss, and since the fish do not come back, the jobs are gone forever.

We can change this problem by managing our resources more carefully.  We can also find ways to economically and sustainably farm fish so that we maintain adequate fish levels, and place realistic quotas on the amount of fish the industry can take from the oceans.

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