By: Suri Zheng
What does overfishing mean? “It is the removal of a species of fish from a body of water at a rate greater than that the species can replenish its population” (Wikipedia). Overfishing has always been a huge problem and is one of the primary sources leading to ocean population decline. Catching and eating fish overall isn’t bad for the environment, except when too many fish are caught.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the number of fish caught has tripled in half a century. Which will lead to a huge loss in our ocean population and a disruption in the food chain. Overfishing can not only impact marine life but also humans. three billion people worldwide rely on fish for protein, and fishing is the principal livelihood for these people. Overfishing also can eventually lead to a decline in our economy.
One cause of overfishing is poor fishing management. Some places in the world have little or no rules for fishing leading to a population decline. One solution is for places to have better fishing management systems known as fishing rights. Under these fishing rights, studies have shown that “By 2050 sustainably managed fisheries could produce 16 million metric tons (or 29%) more wild fish, generate $53 billion USD (or 204%) more profits, and boost the amount of fish left in the water for conservation by 118%” (Environmental Defence Fund). So with new rules, the amount of profit fishermen can make will improve alongside the fish population. This might be just a study, but it works. In Belize, Denmark, Namibia, the U.S., etc. the new fishing laws have helped transform the fishing industry. In Mexico, the Red Snapper population has grown 3 times since 2007 because of these new laws. Once we install these new laws, change can happen quickly.