What is overfishing?
Overfishing is when fish are removed from the ocean or parts of the ocean quicker than they can reproduce in order to sustain their population. Overfishing has been a issue for centuries, as early as the 1800’s when humans hunted whales looking for blubber for lamp oils. Due to the demand for fish in the last 50 years many species of fish have been devastated and this has become a global issue.
- Some species have already been fished to the verge of extinction.
- Over 90% of large predatory fish such as tuna and cod have been fished.
- Two-thirds of the world’s fish are either overfished or depleted.
- It is estimated up to 2.7 trillion wild fish are caught annually. This figure rises further if you include farmed fish.
- Of all animal products consumed, fish accounts for 40% of this. Double chicken which accounts for 20% and more than double of cow which is 14% of animals consumed.
- Bluefin Tuna is thought to be fished to less than 5% of it’s population.
- Atlantic cod has been fished to near extinction. However North Sea cod is back to sustainable levels.
- Sharks are at risk of overfishing due to the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. Fins are harvested and dead sharks are thrown back in the ocean.
- If we continue to fish at the current rate, National Geographic reports global fisheries will collapse by 2048. This will ruin communities worldwide and lead to a potential collapse in economy for local areas reliant on the fishing industry.
- Farmed fish leads to a greater demand on fish feed created from “prey fish”.
- By taking the food sources away from other fish in the ocean they look alternative food sources depleting other species.
- Destruction of marine life and biodiversity.
- “Bottom trawling”, this is a net dragged along the sea floor, which destroys marine habitats including coral reefs which are endangered due to climate change.
- Fishing nets don’t just catch fish. They catch dolphins, turtles and other marine animals that weren’t intended to be caught. It’s likely these animals will die as a result for no reason.
- Sustainable fishing.
- Protecting areas of the ocean creating marine parks.
- Switch to algae oil instead of Omega-3.
- Reduce our consumption of fish and get our Omega-3 needs from elsewhere:
- Eat more sustainable. No one is saying ban eating fish to allow populations to recover but vary your seafood. We don’t have to rely on tuna, salmon and cod. There is so much more variety available.
What will be your One Change Now to help protect our fish and oceans for years to come?