Did you know that in just 55 years, humans have managed to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s top predators? Fish is a staple food for people all over the world. For thousands of years, people have been fishing our rivers and oceans for food; but with the increased demand of our growing population, and access to larger, more efficient fishing boats – our oceans are being overfished.
There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea, Not Quite:
Overfishing is defined as fishing with a sufficiently high intensity to reduce the breeding stock levels to such an extent that they will no longer support a sufficient quantity of fish for sport or commercial harvest. Overfishing is creating great stress in our oceans and rivers by changing aquatic ecosystems. These impacts can lead to the depletion of species that are imperative for the health of coral reefs and other marine habitats.
- A study of catch data, which was published in 2006 in The Journal of Science, predicted that if fishing rates continue at the current levels – all the world’s fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048.
- 66% of the world’s fish are either overfished or have been depleted.
- It is estimated that up to 2.7 trillion wild fish are caught annually.
- Fish account for 40% of all animal products consumed.
- Bluefin Tuna has been fished to less than 5% of its original population.
- Atlantic cod has been fished to near extinction.
- Sharks are at risk of overfishing due to the practices associated with the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup – where fins are harvested, and dead sharks are thrown back into the ocean.
- Approximately 46% of the 79 thousand tons of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of fishing nets, some as large as football fields, according to the study published in March 2018 in Scientific Reports, which shocked the researchers themselves who expected the percentage to be closer to 20%.
How can I make an impact?
Tier 1: Global Goodness
- Know what’s on your plate. Find out whether it is wild caught or farm-raised. It is also important to know what types of fish are endangered.
- Cut down on your intake of fish. If you eat fish twice a week – switch to once a week and check the list above before purchasing.
- Make informed decisions when you shop.
Tier 2: Planet Protector
- All of Tier 1.
- Spread the word. Share your knowledge about overfishing with social media, family and friends – so that they too, can make informed decisions.
- Write to your elected officials and tell them that you are concerned with overfishing and destructive fishing methods. Ask for assistance in implementing stricter fishing policies.
Tier 3: Earth Angel
- All of Tiers 1 & 2.
- Stop consuming fish completely. This is the easiest way to protect you from taking part in the overfishing epidemic.
- Join an overfishing campaign; support organizations that are working to correct the issue. Do your research and support one that feels right to you.
- Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.