Facts on Overfishing

There’s plenty of fish in the sea

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Time left to the end of seafood

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TheWorldCounts, 15 April, 2014

There’s plenty of fish in the sea

This is a favorite expression which means that there’s an abundance of supply. But the truth is different now. If we don’t do something about it, by 2048, there will be no more seafood in our oceans. That’s a very grim prediction… and it’s not very far away. 

Why is this happening? And what will it be like to live in a planet that is covered by an empty Ocean?

What is happening to the Fish?

Population and technology happened. There is an ever growing demand, from an ever growing population. Here's a few facts on overfishing.

Overfishing

The growing population’s demand, when paired with boats that can stay out longer in the sea, boats that are floating factories that can catch and process the fish – and you have overfishing. Since the size of their catch has been dwindling over the years, the fishing fleets have resulted to casting out bigger nets. These nets are indiscriminate. For every 1 ton of prawns catched, 3 tons of little fish are caught in the nets and thrown away (1). The Ocean is unable to renew what we are consuming fast enough.

Disappearance of Predators

The whales, sharks, Bluefin tuna, king mackerel, dolphins and marlin are disappearing or have already disappeared. It took us only 55 years to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s predators causing a disruption of the marine ecosystem. (2) After the big fish, commercial fishermen will just go down the food chain, until we’ve depleted everything. 

Bottom Trawling

It’s the aquatic equivalent of deforestation. Boats cast huge and heavy nets that are held open by heavy doors weighing several tons each and drag them across the ocean floor! Just imagine the devastation that causes. 

Destruction of Habitat

Coral Reefs which are home to 25% of all marine life are being destroyed. The reefs grow at a rate of 0.3 cm to 10 cm a day. What you see now has been growing for the last 5,000 to 10,000 years.

Climate Change

The increase in sea water temperatures are attracting invasive species which are competing with us for our food.

What can you do to help?

The world’s fish stock is dwindling but we can still reverse it if we really want to. It may take several years and for some specie, even centuries. But the important thing is that we give them enough time to replenish. Governments are closely monitoring the fishing industry and banning illegal fishing of endangered fish. You can do your share by watching what you eat and help spreading awareness. 

Know your Seafood and pick the ones that are not endangered. You can check here and for the U.S here.

Look for the Dolphin Safe label instead of just Dolphin Friendly. It’s awarded by the Earth Island Institute and they have the strictest system of monitoring.  (3)

Let your voice be heard. Email your congressman about overfishing. Tweet about it. Post the facts on Facebook! One person can start a revolution of awareness.

Support organizations that are helping to protect the Ocean. They have a big job ahead of them and they need all the help they can get to ensure that there will always be plenty of fish in the sea.

References

  1. YPTE: Overfishing
  2. One Green Planet: 10 Alarming Facts About Overfishing
  3. Overfishing.org:  Overfishing – A Global Disaster

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Percent coral reefs left

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Tons of seafood produced

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