The world fish population was once a vibrant diversity of marine life, but as a direct result of overfishing and loss of fish breeding, stocks have been drastically reduced and the fish trade is threatened.
Fishing to an extent where ecological balance is disturbed and marine life is depleted is overfishing. Put simply, fish are caught faster than they can grow and reproduce. Overfishing makes the ocean ecosystem more vulnerable to harm. Only 10% of the population of large fish within the open ocean, sea, and ground fish species are left in the world.
Numbers of marine marine creatures such as seals, turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and marine birds are decreasing. All are being starved with fewer fish to feed them.
Fish is an important human food source and accounts for one-fifth of all animal protein consumed by humans. An estimated 1 billion people depend on fish as their primary source of protein. Nearly 50% of Japan’s food consumption comes from the sea; the rest of the world’s average is about 15%. The demand for fish rises with the ever increasing world population. The rising population intensifies the pressure on fish stocks and destabilises the fishing industry.
What you can do
Write to or email your local government fisheries representative, and let him or her know that you are concerned about the increasing number of overfished stocks in our seas and oceans. Urge him or her to take steps to protect the ocean environment, and create no-take marine parks to improve fish stocks.
Write a letter or email to the editor of your local newspaper; urge him or her to publish your concerns about local fish conservation and management issues.
Look out for products carrying the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label. This gives you a simple way to identify and buy fish from well-managed sources.
If you are into recreational fishing, respect local fishing laws and bag limits, and participate in catch and release where possible.