World Fisheries: In Dire Need of Action

by dgagne01 on September 25, 2015 - 10:28pm

I do not believe that most people realize the importance of the world’s fisheries. FAO estimates that fisheries and aquaculture feeds approximately 12% of the world’s population. They are equally important for employment around the world as they generated about US$129 billion through 160 million tons of fish exports in 2012 (World Bank, 2015).

The situation regarding ocean fisheries is dire and the need for change is becoming frequently more critical. According to WWF, the amount of fish in the oceans has halved since 1970. The main reason for ocean fisheries being on the brink of collapse is none other than overfishing. There are numerous keystone species that have experienced a massive decrease in population due to overfishing. Economically, this has the potential of being detrimental in the regard that marine fisheries play a critical role in the world economy, especially since it’s a flow resource. This makes it imperative that is implemented that works toward sustainable development (CBC News, 2015).

The UN has recently developed goals that are working toward sustainable development that include ending overfishing and destructive fishing by the year 2020 and restoring stocks as quickly as possible. In order for the fishing stocks to recover, fishing grounds are being closed and efforts to prevent illegal fishing practices are being increased (CBC News, 2015).

This article really opened my eyes to how critical our world fishery situation is and the lengths that management efforts need to go in order work towards recovery. I think that it would be best for management efforts to be focused on preserving and recovering keystone species within their respective ecosystems. If these species aren’t saved, an entire ecosystem could be considerably different or completely seize to exist.  The Government of coastal regions needs to realize the importance of this protection for the sake of not only their environment, but also their economy.

Though it is important to keep in mind that all marine ecosystems and its ecological needs are very different from one another, they can, in general, be managed quite similarly. I believe it would be helpful to allocate an appropriate and adequate amount of government funding into law enforcement regarding overfishing of threatened species. Again, in order for a country’s economy to prosper in near and distant future, it is extremely important that an ecological balance is kept.

The ocean as a renewable resource is commonly taken for granted among consumers and if this if it is to be sustainable in the future, the state must intervene in a way that is economically viable while accounting for ecological needs.

 

Article:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ocean-fish-wwf-1.3230157

Additional reference:

http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/environment/brief/oceans

Comments

Hi there,
I really like your post because I think that this issue is in need of more focus. Ecosystems of the ocean are a completely different and unseen world for many people so I don't think a lot of us think about the processes and controversy that revolve around the seafood that they buy from a grocery store. I agree that there needs to be more stringent regulation regarding overfishing. While it seems obvious that depleting fish populations is something we should strive to protect, many people whose livelihoods revolve around fisheries have different opinions on these so-called regulations to protect the environment. I found an article about a fisherman who is opposing a marine monument that Obama wants to put in place in order to protect marine ecosystems. From this fisherman's perspective, this protection plan will not only hurt fishery communities economically, but commercial fishing is not harmful to the environment. He believes that the process of establishing this marine monument and displacing fishing boats will in turn end up harming ocean ecosystems by placing boats in water that is too shallow.
Perhaps there is more to consider before placing regulations that effect entire industries and many people? This isn't to say that all commercial fishing is good or bad, but how can we balance the economic needs of fishermen with sustainability practices that most people agree upon?

Link to news article:
http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20150929/NEWS/150925845/?Start=1