Discuss the causes of overfishing and evaluate the attempts to remedy this problem

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Discuss the causes of overfishing and evaluate the attempts to remedy this problem

George A.

Every day, two thirds of the world’s population around the world rely on fish and seafood as a direct source of nutrition or a means of income. Now, more than ever before, our oceans are under pressure to meet the needs of growing populations in developing countries and a growing appetite for fish and seafood in developed nations. Overfishing occurs when fish and other marine species are caught at a rate faster than they can reproduce. We now know without a doubt that the fish in the ocean are a finite resource. Many marine scientists now believe that overfishing is the biggest threat to the ocean environment, even greater than that of other human caused disruptions like increasing pollution. The high demand for fish, along with more effective fishing techniques, has lead to many species of fish around the world being depleted, making them commercially extinct. Overfishing is a phenomenon that bears a striking resemblance to many ongoing actions undertaken by major industries, whether from deforestation to extracting oil, it seems to keep occurring and reoccurring despite the approximately 70% of the worlds stocks that are in need of management. Even with project fish populations to be fully depleted by 2048 according to the FAO, fishing still remains at a constant 75 million catches per year despite such obvious warnings given.

Of the nation's 267 major fish stocks, roughly 20% are either already overfished, experiencing overfishing, or approaching an overfished condition. This rate of overfishing has not primarily been due to the growing numbers of fishermen and fishing boats across the world. One of the primary causes of overfishing is simple; the rate of fishing at its current rate now has resulted in a downward spiral of fishing efficiency. In the past several decades, fishing was not a sustainable global project because fishermen were unable to access every location and this stemmed primarily from low tech approaches to fishing, due to a large number of people fishing for subsistence purposes. Today however, much of the subsistence fishing has changed, with small trawlers and fishing boats being replaced by enormous factory ships which capture and process thousands of fish at one time. Some of the nets attached to these industrial ships are capable of holding up to 20,000 fish in one go across sea beds. These ships have drastically changed into modernized marvels compared to the small boats of decades before. The industrial ships come equipped with advanced technological equipment such as sonar instruments and GPS radar to rapidly locate thousands of fish several hundred kilometres below sea. Some of the fishing lines are even able to be deployed to areas which are more than 120 km deep. The large trawler vessels are even able to store enormous volumes of fish reaching 4000 tons, a far cry from the 100 tons the small trawlers which still continue to fish today. Essentially, these industrial ships have driven out many of the developing countries’ fisherman and take what in reality are actually the citizens of those countries. These industrial ships have revolutionized fishing and now fishermen are able to explore deeper and more remote waters in search of fish to support the increasing demand of fish from the estimated two thirds of the world which rely on fish for protein.

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These foreign fishing companies which command much of these 'Super Trawlers' are essentially no match for many of the local fisheries in many developing countries. Fishermen have every reason to do something. Many fisheries are on a downward spiral towards collapse; stocks of large fish have been reduced by up to 90%. The issue of overfishing, particularly by foreign vessels, was very low on the international community's radar when the government of Somalia collapsed in the 1990s.The combination of rich fishing opportunities and a complete lack of focus of the government to its police force in its waters drew ...

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