Today, we will be diving into overfishing. I have decided to split this topic into 2 parts for easier reading (don’t we all love things short and sweet?). In the first part, which is today, we will explore overfishing from a global point of view and subsequently what the public thinks of it. (Disclaimer: it may be slightly on the dry side but I feel that there is a need to lay the foundation before we delve deeper into the topic. Nevertheless, I hope it will be useful and informative!)
I am sure most people know what overfishing is, but just to put it out there, it means hurling fish out of the sea at a rate higher than the fish’s ability to reproduce and repopulate. When this balance is toppled, the health of the ocean’s ecosystem deteriorates. Disruption in the food chain occurs when predators at the top are removed. Coral health is negatively impacted when the population of smaller sea creatures increases. Algae blooms will eventually cause fatal damage to the population of fish (source). Not only is the ocean’s ecosystem affected, overfishing endangers humanity as we are largely reliant on seafood as a source of protein.
The history of fishing dates all the way back, making fishing one of the longest and oldest professions (source). A study estimates some 260 million people are involved in the fishing industry which consists of full and part-time jobs, direct or indirectly (source). The value of global fish trade has soared ten times since 1980 and currently amounts up to approximately US$150 billion (source). China topped the chart as the world’s largest exporter of fish and seafood, amounting to a grand total of US$20.5 billion in 2017 for the export of fish and fish products (source). The fishing industry plays a considerable role in the economy of many countries, which probably explains why overfishing has increased over the years and continues to persist. Perhaps countries feel that the economic revenue from such a lucrative industry is simply too valuable for overfishing to be of concern.
However, this is just one of the many reasons that led to overfishing. Other causes include lack of regulation on fishing practices in international waters, difficulty in tracking fishing activities and poor fishing management.
It really scares me that many countries value economic growth more than the health of our home, especially less affluent countries. But putting myself in their shoes, I can’t say I would have done otherwise. It really is a vicious cycle (and my heartaches for it T^T). Oops sidetracked a little, anyway stay tuned for next week’s post where we will be exploring what people think of overfishing and seafood sustainability!
Lastly, as the waves of school work batter against you, keep pushing on!