Threats To Our Ocean Fisheries


Threats To Our Ocean Fisheries Essay, Research Paper

Threats to Our Ocean Fisheries

Most people are familiar with the problems of the blue whale, efforts to save endangered

sea turtles, and the many tragic tales of dolphins dying in tuna nets. Many people do not realize

the extreme danger that tuna and many other fish face. There is an alarming decline in fish

populations, and this poses a dangerous threat to life in the ocean. If fish decline, so does the

sea, into and unstable environment. Conservation measures, and public support for them are

badly needed.

For decades man has taken fish out of the sea, seeming to believe that there is an endless

supply, and that this supply cannot be destroyed. We take these fish out of the sea faster than

they can be replaced. According to National Marine Fisheries services, 90 fish species found off

the shores of the U. S. have been depleted. Many more are in danger off being killed off. Fish

and shell fish that are at danger include: cod, flounder, swordfish, bluefin tuna, blue marlin,

Atlantic lobster, red snapper, salmon and some species of shark. These are just a few and the

list gets longer every year.

The chief problem of the fish numbers being at an all-time low, is over fishing. Yet

another environmental problem caused by the human race. Modern, technologically-advanced

fishing fleets have the capacity to push most fish populations to the brink of extinction. Modern

fishing fleets have large factory steam trawlers that can easily haul in net loads of up to 100 metric

tons of fish. These vessels can work fishing grounds for many months at a time.

Echo sounding has been useful to fisherman by locating and determining the species and

size of fish shoals. Airplanes and helicopters are even used to detect the surface fish. Some

species such as squid are attracted with strong lights and then sucked into the ship with powerful

vacuum pumps.

Because of these improved technologies more fish can be harvested, but about one-fourth of the

global catch, ( over 20 million tons of fish and other marine animals) are discarded yearly by

fisherman. Some of these fleets throw away more fish than they keep. This waste is a problem

in almost every fishery.

The threat of over fishing is increased be the threat of large-scale changes to marine

ecosystems. Most salt water fish spend most of their time near coastal areas, but the problem is

that these coastal waters are being assaulted by pollution and development. Without healthy,

functioning coastal systems, fish cannot grow or reproduce, they simply cannot and will not


There are a number of steps that can be taken in order to conserve our waters and the

fish in them. One big thing we can do is crack down on the companies and the people that are

harming the environment. We could have harsher punishments for those committing crimes

against our oceans, and the ocean wildlife. Another thing that could cut down on over fishing is to

fine companies that over fish a large amounts and use that money to put back into our waters.

If something is not done about the problems of over fishing and water pollution,

permanent changes will take place in the ocean food chain. The predator-prey relationships of

the ocean will cease to exist. These relationships, which took millions of years to evolve, will be

destroyed. The depleting fish populations will alter and damage the genetic and species diversity

of the ocean world. If we could understand the meaning of moderation, perhaps over fishing

would not be a problem that our environment would have to endure.


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