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The Negative Effects and Dangers of Overfishing

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Throughout our newest project on sustainability, I have decided to research about the dangers of overfishing. Overfishing is wrong and it should be stopped. According to Discovery News, overfishing is when too many fish are caught, that there isn’t enough fish to produce as much of their species in a year. To begin with, one-third of the fish population is shrinking, but commercial fisheries worldwide are still overfishing all the time! Their methods are creating negative effects on the environment. Ultimately these effects are getting worse and worse.

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Over the years, overfishing has been having huge impacts on marine life. MarineScienceToday.com states that “Overfishing has altered complex marine ecosystems”. It has done that through overfishing, which is causing imbalanced food chains in the marine environment. An imbalanced food chain would be, for example, when sharks eat sea lions. If sharks are continuously overfished, then there will be fewer sharks to eat sea lions. This causes the sea lion population to increase. Since sea lions eat Krill, and there are more sea lions, then the Krill species will decrease until eventually, they will get extinct from too many predators, and because sea lions depend on Krill for a food supply, the sea lion species will decrease from lack of food until eventually, they all might go extinct.

As people, Singaporeans eat 22kg of seafood per person each year. That’s more than the global average of 20kg! Some of the fish they eat are Indian threadfin, silver pomfret, yellow-banded scad, and sharks. These fish are caught unsustainably and overfished. We need to make better consumption choices. Because of the population increase and higher demand for seafood, It’s mostly our fault that commercial fisheries tend to overfish.

Before long, if commercial fisheries continue this practice, then we will run out of seafood. channelnewsasia.com even says that “by 2048 our grandchildren may never eat freshly caught fish from the ocean again.” Thankfully, a few companies have certified their food with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as ‘sustainable seafood’. In some places, they use fishing quotas to help regulate the amount of fish caught, closed seasons so fishes can spawn, and size limits that protect younger fish from being caught before they’re completely developed.As a student, I want to create a website informing my community about the dangers of overfishing. Millions of people use the internet every day. I want the information about overfishing I collected be able to be accessed by all people around the world. Meanwhile, I am also starting to only eat seafood certified ‘sustainable’ in order to reduce my carbon footprint and convincing my family to do so as well.

However, many fishermen have this mindset: less fish caught=less money made. It’s partially true. But, if fishermen keep on getting as much fish as they can to earn more money, then we will run out of fish. If we run out of fish, those fishermen won’t have jobs, which means no money. So less fish caught doesn’t entirely mean less money. It also means more fish in the future so more money-making opportunities for fishermen and the future generations.

Furthermore, overfishing has completely ruined ecosystems. For years this issue has been affecting our environment very badly. From imbalanced food chains to overconsumption, humanity really needs to make a change. People do not need to cut out seafood from their diet permanently. There are other, more effective solutions, for example, consumers could buy seafood labelled ‘sustainable’ by MSC. This organization makes sure that the fish we consume is caught well and is sustainable for future generations. All in all, overfishing is a problem that everyone can help solve if we just try.

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