So in a nutshell here are the main issues;
Unsustainable fishing or Overfishing: In every ocean around the world, fish stocks are in decline. Every year, many fishing fleets catch fish faster than young fish can mature and breed, so there are fewer fish left in the ocean to form the next generation. If this continues, the fish will become commercially extinct. A great example of this is Cod Overfishing in Newfoundland. Even after a 10 year moratorium on Cod fishing, the Cod have still not returned.
Furthermore, a study by Marine biologist Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia found that;
“In 1994, seafood may have peaked. According to an analysis of 64 large marine ecosystems, which provide 83 percent of the world’s seafood catch, global fishing yields have declined by 10.6 million metric tons since that year. And if that trend is not reversed, total collapse of all world fisheries should hit around 2048.”
Competition for food. Because fish are caught in complex ecosystems, when too many fish are being caught it disrupts the balance of the food supply for other species. For example, if seals mostly eat one type of fish, and humans catch a lot too, then the seals might struggle to find enough food to survive. Same goes for penguins in Antarctica, who have to swim further away from the coast to find food to feed their young during breading season due to fishing fleet now invading the Antarctic Ocean in the search for more fish stock.
Habitat destruction. Some fishing methods like bottom trawling destroy sensitive habitats like coral reefs, sea mounts. Others like aquaculture destroy mangroves and estuaries, which are essential breeding and feeding grounds for many different animals and birds. When these sensitive habitats are destroyed it can make it more difficult for the fish to find their food, hide from predators and reproduce therefore escalating the collapse of these species.
These main issues are brought further to light in this video featuring Dr Daniel Pauly, a biologist of fishings. He is regarded as specialist of his discipline and is the Director of the Center of fishings from the university British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada). I believe he knows what he is talking about. Note: the sound quality is not the best.
So in summary, we need to stop raping the oceans, and start fishing sustainably, setting aside major areas of ocean as sanctuary so that they can recover, but more on that in the next post.
National Geographic, Global Fish Crisis: Still Water
Overfishing.org – Why is overfishing a problem?
End of the Line movie
Australian Marine Conservation Society – Sustainable Seafood Guide