False Facts from "Reliable" Sources in the Fishing Industry

by Rileym on November 25, 2016 - 2:57pm

This article was published to inform society of the overfishing that has been taking place and goes unreported not noticed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Studies were conducted by two students at the University of British Columbia and their four hundred global collaborators with the Sea Around Us project to analyze the accuracy of the FAO’s statistics on fisheries. These studies concluded that approximately fifty percent more fish are being caught than what is recorded by the FAO (Chung, 2016). It was noted that FAO statistics are based on numbers the individual countries provide them with. This is an issue as countries most often only report what they see. Often, if they do not have data for types of fish, they report that zero tonnes of fish are caught (Chung, 2016). Inaccurate data is recorded (or not recorded) by the fisheries, then passed on to the governments which is where the FAO retrieves its information. The findings were provided using multiple techniques, one being students going to hotels and getting invoices from who sold them fish. The illegal fishing catches were estimated based on local fish consumption statistics.

With the FAO being a United Nations organization, these statistics are largely relied upon and believed to be accurate. The Canadian economy is largely reliant on the fisheries therefore rather than looking at the environmental damages of overfishing, we look at the economic benefits. There appears to be a conflict of interest between the Canadian government regulations and environmental scientists. Governments prioritize economic gain over environmental sustainability therefore the overfishing is easily overlooked even with the knowledge of the consequences of these actions. In order for fishing to be sustainable the government must use its power to control ideas and material practices. Controlling the ideas society holds on overfishing can be done through media influence and taught through education. Control over material practice of overfishing would need to be done through implementing stronger rules and regulations.

Fish are currently categorized as a renewable flow resource, however if overfishing continues in this pattern, over time fish will become a stock resource and no longer be renewable. Eventually if we continue over using this common property, it will no longer be a renewable resource.

Initially I was taken back by how much is overlooked by society and governments. However, until society holds the environment of higher importance than the economy, these actions will continue, not only overfishing but over consumption of all earths resources.


Works Cited:

Chung, E. (2016). Ocean fish catches 50% higher than reported, study suggests. CBCnews. http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fish-catch-fao-1.3410164