How has the Mass Fishing effected the natural resources and environment of the earth? With the depletion of fisheries and coastal environments around the world there is a corresponding reaction for a booming fishing industry that has benefitted significantly off the demand for more and more freshly resourced sea food.
But how has this effected the environment of these coastal areas that are being harvested? It has caused the utter destruction of a significant proportion of the world\’s coastal areas, and despite conservationist efforts shows no sign of stopping. The fishing industry’s exploits have had varying effects on economies and environments locally, nationally, and globally.
In many underdeveloped societies fishing is not just a way of life it is the source of life. A prime example of this is on the aboriginal reserves in Australia. In 1905 the fishing regulations around coastal areas were not a strict as they are in the present day and aboriginals were able to thrive self sustainably by fishing on their reserves in the traditional way done for centuries.
While most of this fishing was purely for the sole purpose of feeding their tribe, so normal restrictions for the harvesting of fish were not applied. It was recognized in the early 80’s that an “operation” was taking place on the aboriginal land that was taking advantage of the limited harvest limits in the reservation to harvest a massive amount of fish to sell commercially outside of the reservation.
This “operation”, was practically ignored until the early 90’s when an ecological survey discovered an enormous “drought” in aquaculture in the coastal area’s off of the reservation, this was because the “operation” had been harvesting ten times the limit applied to commercial fisheries outside of the reservation.
Because of this incident Australia passed the “1991 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries”, which now applied to all coastal aboriginal reservations as well as commercial fisheries to prevent over harvesting mainly in western Australia. At first this received an enormous backlash, mainly from the aboriginals who had abused their rights to run the “operation” but is still in effect to the present day.
This is a primary example of how even local fisheries can have a drastic impact on the environment and must be strictly regulated in order to preserve the environment. While this was a severely negative event for this local coastline the aboriginal tribe that, was responsible for this “operation”, gained a significant economical product because of their efforts.
The first signs of an unhealthy relationship between the fishing industry and the environment in America was documented to be in the 20th century when fleets of cod fishers in New England nearly depleted Cape Cod’s entire stock of Cod in less than decade. This was the first example of mass fishing that resulted in an ecosystems primary organism almost being completely wiped out.
To coincide with this recreational fishing in this area continued even after the main event of mass fishing ceased further decimating the cod populations. This occurred during a time when fishing regulations were virtually nonexistent in that there were none, and fishing was open to anyone with the capabilities and man power to harvest the ocean. The events at Cape Cod led to several things happening across a newly developing America.
The first being that all the cod harvested had to be processed, canned, which produced many jobs benefiting the economy in the area for around ten years and starting an almost cod exclusive seafood market in the New England region. Albeit at the cost of the cod population in the area for generations, almost 90%.
If this situation had been managed better and restrictions had been put on the amount of fish able to be caught per vessel such a dramatic decrease would likely not have occurred and the environment would have had a more stable decrease of Cod. This had a national effect on the coasts of America because it was the start of mass fishing in this part of the world.
In the Pacific Ocean mass fishing is one of the most prominent industries in the world. Mass fishing ranges from the American west coast, to the Japanese coastline and extends to everywhere in between. The Pacific Ocean makes over 30% of the world and despite the common idea that it is an endless supply of seafood to support the fishing industry, that is not the case and it is drastically over fished. The fisheries and fishing vessels in this ocean providing much of the world\’s seafood.
This is not without its own cost; despite this oceans vastness its aquatic life density has decreased around 20% in the past thirty years. Several species have been harvested to the brink of extinction namely the blue finned tuna, and several whale species. The methods of fishing involved are extremely efficient in that it is estimated in 2017 over seventy billion fish where harvested from the Pacific Ocean alone.
This has had a drastic effect on ecosystems globally, with the decrease and increase of certain fish skyrocketing and plummeting in such a short geological amount of time all aquatic ecosystems in this portion of the world are in disarray. With the number of vessels harvesting this ocean there is no easy way to regulate the amount of fish harvested, weight limits are already in place to try to counteract the amount of ecological loss. The industry overall that relies on this ocean is too large to regulate because of its size, global influence, and its support of economies around the globe.
Mass fishing is an ever-increasing problem around the world and shows no signs of stopping. While it does support entire countries\’ economies it is at a great cost to the world\’s environment. There is not an easy answer to how to solve this problem because of the vastness of the issue, but the effects are ever increasing and eventually it will be present to all the dangers of over harvesting our oceans.