Overexploitation of Fishes: An Alarming Situation
by SRZaouali on November 6, 2015 - 9:26pm
The overexploitation of fishes in the last few decades has reached a critical point. In fact, in the article “How the world’s oceans can be running out of fish” by Gaia Vince, the author argues that humans have exploited so much fish in the last few years that “we might be the last generations to catch fishes from the oceans” (Vince, 2012, par. 1). The author highlights some alarming statistics such as recent studies showing that each person consumes 17 kg of fish per year. Moreover, it has been found that 85% of the global fisheries are fully or overexploited.
The author explains that some areas in the Mediterranean are now deserted due to the increase in the efficiency of fishing methods such as bottom trawling. This effective and rapid technique allowed the European Union to take advantage of African countries where each trawler traps, each day, hundreds of thousands of kilos of fish. The use of bottom trawling has lead to the overexploitation of all West African fisheries as well as a 50 % decline of the coastal fisheries in the last 30 years. Furthermore, the author addresses serious impacts of the decline of fish quantities on humans. In fact, 400 million people in Africa and Southeast Asia rely on fish caught for protein and minerals.
Vince also addresses humans’ overexploitation of exotic sea creatures (such as sharks) which is leading to their extinction. This has a significant impact on the marine ecosystem because it increases the number of smaller fish in the oceans, putting in danger the life of animals such as plankton without which, the entire ecosystem is threatened. That is, the author suggests various solutions to the issue of overexploitation such as to create protected areas where it is forbidden to fish.
Even though I was already aware of the impacts of overexploitation, this article made me reflect on our role as individuals and as a society on our environment. Since a few decades, human impacts on the ecosystem are critical as they are completely modifying our environment. Some of the solutions proposed by the author are already in place but I think that those local responses are not enough. We need to go beyond practical solutions and change our approach as a society on how we use and exploit our resources. Changes need to be done on the higher level. In other words, even if individuals are willing to stop exploitation and damaging the environment, it is not enough. People in higher position with more power such as governments and companies absolutely need to change their approach on fishing and exploitation of resources. However, are governments and companies ready to make those changes?
Vince, G. (2012, September 21). How the World’s Oceans can be Running out of Fish. BBC. Retrieved from http:// www.bbc.com/future/story/20120920-are-we-running-out-of-fish