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Marine Exploitation / Sustainability

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Overfishing. Overfishing occurs when more fish are caught than the population can replace through natural reproduction.


Gathering as many fish as possible may seem like a profitable practice, but overfishing has serious consequences. National Geographic. Ocean overfishing is simply the taking of wildlife from the sea at rates too high for fished species to replace themselves.

National Geographic

The earliest overfishing occurred in the early 1800s when humans, seeking blubber for lamp oil, decimated the whale population. Some fish that we eat, including Atlantic cod and herring and California's sardines, were also harvested to the brink of extinction by the mid-1900s. Highly disruptive to the food chain, these isolated, regional depletions became global and catastrophic by the late 20th century. When It Started Marine scientists know when widespread overfishing of the seas began. In the mid-20th century, international efforts to increase the availability and affordability of protein-rich foods led to concerted government efforts to increase fishing capacity. But by 1989, when about 90 million tons (metric tons) of catch were taken from the ocean, the industry had hit its high-water mark, and yields have declined or stagnated ever since.

Overfishing. "There's enough on this planet for everyone's needs but not for everyone's greed" - Mahatma Gandhi For our children to have future income, food and pleasure we need healthy oceans and a healthy fishing industry.


We need to create ocean sanctuaries to improve the state of our oceans and our fish populations. We need to vastly improve the way we fish, so it is not wasteful and damaging, but first we urgently need to stop taking fish faster than our oceans can replenish. It’s really simple housekeeping. But common sense is not working at the moment. Here are some facts and figures that may shock you: 63 percent of global fish stocks are now considered overfished. 40,000 jobs were lost with the collapse of just one overfished cod populationFishing fleets are heading to new waters because they have exhausted their old hunting grounds. Overfishing - A global environmental problem, threat to our oceans and disaster. Oceans fit for the future.

We stand with everyone who wants healthy oceans for our children, who want marine life to thrive and the fishing industry to give jobs and a future for millions.

Oceans fit for the future

We will be part of the movement that works to create and protect clean seas that bring life to our planet. Healthy oceans can fight many impacts of climate change. Ocean sanctuaries, also known as marine reserves, teem with life, their waters are healthier and better able to resist or absorb the impacts of climate change. Climate change is altering the very nature of the oceans, changes in water temperature are causing species to move to warmer or cooler waters and in some parts of the ocean damaging the building blocks of the food web. Powerful sea currents that regulate our weather are changing dramatically and the ice is melting at an increasing rate in the Arctic and areas of Antarctic.

Scientists warn the subsequent rising sea levels will flood low-lying land and wipe out entire islands in our lifetime. Ending Overfishing. Save Our Seas Foundation. One in five people on this planet depends on fish as the primary source of protein.

Save Our Seas Foundation

—Food and Agriculture Organization "We are in the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish. " —Pavan Sukhdev, UN Environment Programme Overview Overfishing occurs when fish and other marine species are caught faster than they can reproduce. Sustainable fishing The statistics are grim: 3/4 of the world's fish stocks are being harvested faster than they can reproduce. The most prized species are already disappearing. Case study: Atlantic bluefin tuna They can weigh over half a ton, grow to over four metres in length, and dive to depths of 1,000 metres. Bluefin tuna are unique, perfectly-adapted products of evolution. Coveted for their dense, dark red meat used in sushi (where it is known as “toro”), bluefin support an unsustainable $7.2 billion industry that has driven tuna stocks to the brink of collapse. Bycatch Remedies What can be done?

In practical terms, this means: Bycatch. Bycatch occurs because modern fishing gear is very efficient, often covers an extensive area, and can be highly unselective—it catches not only the target species but many other marine animals as well.


Poor fisheries management in certain countries further contributes to the problem. Widespread pirate fishing ignores regulations on net mesh sizes, quotas, permitted fishing areas and other bycatch mitigation measures. NON-SELECTIVE FISHING GEARFishing gear is largely non-selective—any species can be caught, including non-target species. Longlines, trawling and the use of gillnets are the fishing methods that most commonly result in bycatch. Longlining is a commercial fishing method commonly targeting swordfish, tuna and halibut, where hundreds or thousands of baited hooks hang at intervals along a single fishing line.

With trawling, boats drag large nets along the seabed, catching almost everything in their path. Coasts and seas. Human activities are causing unprecedented environmental changes for coastal and marine ecosystems.

Coasts and seas

Pressures from fishing, pollution from land- and sea-based sources, urbanisation, loss and degradation of valuable habitat, and invasions of non-native species are growing worldwide. All these impacts are likely to be exacerbated by the changing climate. More Observed global mean sea level rise has accelerated over the past 15 years. From 2002 to 2009 the contributions of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise increased. Antarctic Ocean.


Dolphins. Sharks. Whales.