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Overfishing: A Troubling Unsustainable Trend

The issues with catching too many fish without moderation


What's going on?

The world’s oceans are seemingly full of fish, especially with 71% of the Earth’s surface covered by the oceans. Fishing has been beneficial in preventing the overpopulation of fish species and help maintain the marine ecosystem. However, in the past few decades, there is a rising problem of overfishing, which is an unsustainable way of fishing. Within half a century, overfishing stocks grew triple its size and could potentially have a radical effect on the marine ecosystem. According to National Geographic, humans remove about 77 billion kilograms of marine life from the ocean every year.


A similar trend has happened before in history during the season of the great whale hunts in the mid-19th century. That resulted in the highest ever record of 46,039 whales killed in 1937 despite international regulations. Since then, the population of whales have dropped tremendously and are only recovering thanks to the steady effort of energetic conservation. The issue with overfishing is that there is not enough breeding population to fill the gap left by the fishes caught. This becomes worse with each subsequent catch as the population further decreases uncontrollably.


Hence, measures need to be put in place to control this trend, or the business of fishing will collapse in the long term. The most effective measure currently placed by governments are annual catch limits, which restrict how much each fisherman or fishing boat can catch at each time. Another option is to prevent fishing during the fish breeding season, thus allowing the next generation of fish to grow and decreasing the population gap. All of these efforts will help conserve fish for the consumption of future generations and preserving the fine balance of the marine ecosystem.


Overfishing: Can We Ever Reverse the Damage We’ve Done