Sustainable fishing has a lot to do with the way fish are caught and handled.
Feature image credit: NOAA
Ways to ensure sustainable fishing:
Reducing the number of fish caught at once especially using destructive fishing techniques
This fishing method involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. This method is most common for commercial fishing and can be executed close to the sea floor or as mid-water trawling. Although regulated in some nations, the practice can be really harmful due to its non-selective nature, sweeping undesirable fish both illegal and legal in size known by by-catch. By-catch commonly includes immature species of turtles, dolphins or sharks that are accidentally killed during the trawling process.
The biological characteristics of marine species and ecosystems makes them particularly sensitive to human activity. Trawling stirs up soil that is suspended solids polluting In the case of deep-sea species, they grow slowly and only reach sexual maturity when several decades old in cold and dark environments. Deep sea shock and depleting stocks due to fishing need to be further recognised.
Baited fishing lines are drawn through the water. This is a common method for both recreational and commercial fishingMany fishing vessels stay in deep waters far away in the sea for a longer duration and over time, they lose their nets. These nets remain in the water and continue to trap and kill millions of fish and other marine creatures. Pollution is also caused by this method of overfishing. The fishing vessels that spills or discards chemicals/oils into the ocean also severely affect the marine life.
2. Using ethical killing techniques as soon as possible after landing fish
Studies have shown that fish are sentient and can experience pain, therefore we have to acknowledge that we have an ethical obligation to treat fish humanely and avoid destructive practices. All fish caught for consumption should be killed as humanely as possible and handled with care. This requires the fish to be stunned (rendered instantaneously insensible) before being bled out. This improves flesh quality and storage life, particularly if the fish is bled then immediately placed in an ice slurry.
3. Banning the use of live bait.
Often in recreational fishing, live bait are used to lure fish onto the hook. The bait are usually small fish who have a hook shoved into their bodies while still alive. The hook is cast into the water on the end of the fishing line, and the bait’s struggling is what attracts the larger free-swimming fish.
How can you help?
- Asking restaurants, retailers and communities about how they handled, kill and capture their seafood and urging them to ethically source them.
- Actively choosing sustainable seafood and educating friends/family about issues to do with overfishing.
- It is important to urge governments to impose stricter regulations on fishing methods such as trawling and ensuring that by-catch reduction grids are fitting into trawls to allow certain species to escape.
– A.K #error404fish