Holy Shrimp! This Scampi Happening?
By: Lindsay, Abby and Crystal
This Is Our Only Opportunity to Save the Fish
It took people only 55 years to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s predators, causing unbalance in the marine ecosystem. Remember, it's not just the fish we eat that are affected. Fish that are large in size, live a long time and are slow to reproduce are among the most hopeless to overfishing. Of 465 shark species, 74 are listed as endangered and helpless. In spite of new and effective fishing restrictions, it still could be decades before these fish recover.
Over the years...
- Overfishing started in the early 1800s, when humans used blubber for lamp oil, and ended up killing most of the whale population.
Some fish that we eat, including Atlantic cod and herring and California's sardines, were caught to the brink of extinction by the mid-1900s.
In 1989 about 90 million metric tons of marine animals were taken from the ocean, the industry had hit its high-water mark, and yields have declined or stagnated ever since.
In 2003 a scientific report estimated that industrial fishing has reduced the number of large ocean fish to just 10 percent of their pre-industrial population.
- In 2006 the journal Science thought that if fishing rates continue, all the world's fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048.
Each year, billions of unwanted fish and other animals like dolphins, marine turtles, coral and sharks die due to illegal, and destructive fishing practices.
What is Overfishing?
Overfishing is when more fish are caught than the population can replace through natural reproduction, overfishing is simply the taking of wildlife from the sea at rates too high. Many scientists say most fish populations could be restored with aggressive fisheries management, better enforcement of laws governing catches, and increased use of aquaculture.
Why is it bad?
Billions of people rely on fish for protein. For centuries, our seas and oceans have been thought to never run out of food. Gathering as many fish as possible may seem successful but overfishing has serious consequences. The results not only affect the balance of life in the oceans, but also the social and economic well-being of the coastal communities who depend on fish for their way of life. More than 85 percent of the world's fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their biological limits and are in need of strict management plans to restore them. Several important commercial fish populations have declined to the point where their survival as a species is threatened. Target fishing of top predators, such as tuna and groupers, is changing marine communities, which lead to an abundance of smaller marine species, such as sardines and anchovies.
How can we stop overfishing?
Bottom Trawling- the equivalent of marine deforestation. Boats cast huge, heavy nets held open by doors weighing several tons each and drag them across the ocean floor.
Ghost Fishing- Many large fisheries stay for weeks and months in deep seas and sometimes loose their nets. These nets continue to trap and catch fishes under the water and end up killing them. These discarded nets stay there for many decades and the destruction they cause is fairly significant.