Causes of Overfishing
Overfishing occurs when fish are depleted so much that they either cannot sustain their population, or cannot reproduce. Many fish are caught to the point that there aren’t enough remaining within an ecosystem to survive, or are caught before they have fully matured. The world is a global community with a growing population and an appetite for fish from around the planet. In response to this demand, current fishing fleets are over 2.5 times as large as the sustainable fish population. More fish are being taken from the ocean than are allowed to reproduce. Over time, this has devastated certain areas and species of fish. For example, cod off the coast of Canada on the Atlantic seaboard have been over fished to devastating consequences for the fishing community there. In addition to the amounts of fish being caught, illegal and unregulated fishing practices are largely contributing to the problem of overfishing. Illegal practices include poaching, fishing out of season, and obtaining more than the allowed number of catch. Unregulated practices that cause great harm include by catch, the process of throwing out any unwanted marine life that get caught up with the main catch, and Trawling, a method of scraping along the bottom of the ocean to gather a catch, destroying habitats in the process. Knowledge by consumers of where their fish comes from, as well as how it was caught, is needed to bring awareness into the public sphere. Also, better regulation of methods used in fishing practices is needed to combat the causes of overfishing.