The ocean makes up 71% of our earth’s surface and is home for millions of marine wildlife and plants. The Ocean is also the largest source of food in the world as fish is the main daily source of protein for 1.2 billion people. This makes it an extremely important place for both humans and animals who mutually depend on each other to live in harmony.
What is Overfishing?
Overfishing is the act of fishing from the oceans faster than the fish can reproduce and replicate in numbers. Sophisticated fishing technologies have proliferated the rate that industries are catching fish beyond natural replenishment, allowing them to do so easily and cheaper.
This leaves lesser fish in the oceans meaning that the food chain is disturbed and fishermen have to travel longer distances deeper into the sea to catch fish which causes even more complications.
1. Poor Fishery Management
Unsustainable fishing is caused by inadequate fishery management and unethical fishing practices. From a 2008 UN report, the world’s fishing fleets are losing US$50 billion each year through depleted stocks and poor fisheries management. Profit driven fisheries who engage in large scale fishing not only affect ocean biodiversity, but the socio-economic well-being of the coastal communities who depend on fish for survival.
Every year, 27 million tonnes of unwanted fish and marine life such as endangered sharks, turtles and dolphins are killed alongside the target fish. These practices are pushing many marine species towards extinction and contributing to the food chain imbalance. Stop destructive fishing practices by signing our petition to permanently ban the super trawler in Australia.
3. Human Population and Consumption
Rising human population is the greatest threat to marine, estuarine and freshwater fishes and their associated habitats. This is exemplified by the rapid decline in ‘peak fish’ since 1950s. However, the consumption of consumers correlate with population growth, with the average Australian consuming approximately 20kg of seafood a year. This creates further stress on the marine population due to the rising demand for seafood.
Image: Before vs After showing damage to coral and marine habitats from human actions.
How does overfishing affect you?
The impact of declining fish stock due to overfishing negatively influences Sydney’s community, environment and health. Scientists have forecasted a 37% rise in seafood consumption by 2050 that will result in the disappearance of most wild fish. This information asymmetry on how the fish are caught, how they breed and their natural habitats can lead to numerous issues affecting sustainability and health.