The Shark-ing Truth Under the Ocean

Although our main agenda is to raise awareness about the rapidly declining fish stock due to the detrimental effects of overfishing; there are these two other incredibly important issues facing our Australian waters that are often overlooked.

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Culling of Sharks 

Half of the world’s shark species live in Australian waters and just like the pacific bluefin tuna, sharks are extremely important in maintaining the balance of our marine ecosystems.

Just like overfishing, human actions such as culling have threatened the number of sharks, who are usually slow growing and late to reach maturity.  This means that it takes sharks a long time to recover from over-exploitation.

According to the Australian Marine Conservation, 97% of sharks culled over a 12 month period were considered to be at some level of conservation risk.

An amazing campaign fighting for this cause is Cut the Cull.  Please show some support and find out more by visiting their blog and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts.  To help ‘Cut the Cull’,  make sure to sign their petition here!

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Plastic Marine Pollution 

We’ve all seen that excruciating video with the straw stuck inside the poor turtle’s nostrils right?  Plastic pollution is another devastating issue that affects most marine species such as predators (Sharks) and prey (fish) in the food chain.

Unfortunately, over 10 million plastic straws are used in Australia every single day and there’s an estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic spread throughout the world’s ocean already, with a rate that is increasing every year.

What can we do? 

Biodegradable straws can decompose within 35 days of use, while plastic straws can take over 200 years.

By banning the use and distribution of plastic straws, we can set the stage for further legislative action against other disposable plastic and encourage manufacturers to seek more cost effective ways to produce eco-friendly plastic alternatives.

Under the Ocean is another amazing campaign against plastic pollution, support their  blog and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Make this the final straw by signing the petition.

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Together we can protect Australia’s marine biodiversity by taking these issues up to decision makers, along with doing our part to inform and educate ourselves and others around us!

– A.K #error404fish

Destructive Fishing Methods

Sustainable fishing has a lot to do with the way fish are caught and handled.

Feature image credit: NOAA 

Ways to ensure sustainable fishing:

  1. Reducing the number of fish caught at once especially using destructive fishing techniques

    • Trawling:

    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.

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    • Trolling:

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.

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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.

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How can you help? 

  1. Asking restaurants, retailers and communities about how they handled, kill and capture their seafood and urging them to ethically source them.
  2. Actively choosing sustainable seafood and educating friends/family about issues to do with overfishing.
  3. 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