Overfishing is a problem that may be overlooked by many. However, this is a problem that needs to be addressed since its causing major problems for our environment. I will begin by discussing the problems that overfishing causes as well as proposing possible solutions. As a fisherman, it is essential to know the problems it is causing because one person can make an impact.
One problem that overfishing can create is pollution. This includes both water and air pollution. Water pollution occurs when we fish because sometimes our lines or hooks get tangled up on debris in the water. When this happens, we may sometimes have to cut the line to break it free. When hooks and lines are in the water, it puts marine life at risk. For example, fish may get tangled up in lines or be at risk of ingesting a hook if it’s near a food source. If a hook is ingested or fish get tangled up in line it puts their life at risk, and they may end up dying as a result. This debris that ends up in the water doesn’t only put fish at risk, but it may affect us humans as well. To prevent lines and hooks from coming off our poles and into the water we need to be sure of where we are casting our lines. We need to try to avoid casting into place where we know they are lots of weeds because our hook could get stuck. We also need to be weary of trees when we cast on the shoreline. In my experience, I have casted into lots of trees before when I fish near the shoreline. To prevent this from happening, when need to make sure our boats are far enough away from the shoreline, so we don’t end up over casting the line into a tree. Sometimes the line may break free, but if it doesn’t it may end up in the water with the marine life. I know this sounds like common sense, but it is surprising on how many times this can happen. When more people are out on the boat to fish, the more risk the water is at of waste. For example, a plastic cup could fly out of the cup holder and get into the water with the marine life. This also puts them at risk because they could ingest it thinking its food. To prevent this from happening, we should make sure our cups are in our cup holders securely and throw them in the trash when they are empty, since they are more at risk of falling out when the boat is in motion. Better yet, it would be better to use a reusable cup since plastic waste has a major impact on our environment as well.
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Air pollution is another thing we must be conscious about when we are fishing. The more fisherman we have, the more boats that are out on the water. Most fisherman using fishing boats, and these can have a drastic effect on the environment since most are gas operated. As we know, most cars are gas operated and they have major impact on the environment as well. Leotaud points out that, “207 million tons of CO2 were released into the atmosphere by marine fishing vessels only in 2016. This is almost the same amount of CO2 emitted by 51 coal-fired power plants in the same timeframe” (Leotaud). According to Leotaud, fishing boats are more of a concern today than in the past, since “Carbon dioxide emissions from the fuel burnt by fishing boats are 30 percent higher than previously reported.” (Leotaud). With technology today, we can opt for a boat that is electric powered so there are less CO2 emissions that are introduced into the environment. C02 is bad news for our environment because this can contribute to climate change. The more C02 in our atmosphere, the more the Earth is at risk for climate change.
We can see that overfishing is has been an ongoing problem due to a species of fish that saw a decline in numbers over the last few years. The fish that had seen a decline numbers over the years is the Shortnose Sturgeon. This species of fish can live up to the age of sixty-seven. However, most live on average of about thirty years. The Shortnose Sturgeon can weigh up to fifty pounds and be found of up to four and a half feet long. According to -----, “shortnose sturgeon are amphidromous fish—meaning they are born in freshwater, then live in their birth (natal) river, make short feeding or migratory trips into salt water, and then return to freshwater to feed and escape predation. All sturgeon, including shortnose sturgeon, spawn in freshwater” (). In this article, it has been noticed that the numbers of the shortnose sturgeon have been depleting over the years in the Savannah River, Georgia. According to Peterson, the adult population was estimated to be 1,865 (784–4,694) individuals in 2013, 1,564 (1,005–2,513) in 2014, and 940 (535–1,753) in 2015” (Peterson). It was believed that overfishing of this species had led to the decline in numbers. There is a positive correlation between pollution and overfishing as well. If we have more fisherman out on the water, we have more boats, thus contributing to more air and water pollution.
I have been fishing out to lots of different lakes and areas of the United States in my lifetime. I have been fishing with my brother, father, and my Grandpa up north in Townsend, WI. I have also been fishing in Vermillion Bay, Canada before. I learned that different areas of the United States and in a different country have different laws and regulations regarding fishing. For example, in Canada we fished on one main lake called Eagle Lake and it was near everyone’s cabins where people stayed for the time that they were there. On this main lake, we used live minnows as bait for the fish. However, my family and I had a special opportunity to do a fly in. A fly in is an opportunity where you fly onto a private lake about twenty minutes from where we were staying. When we arrived, there was a boat already near the lake. We were given dead minnows to use for bait at this lake. I was a bit confused at first on why we were required to use dead minnows and not live ones. I was informed that the minnow was a potential for an invasive species. Invasive species are a type of species that are not originated in the area, and if they are introduced to a lake, they can reproduce uncontrollably and take over the lake. This leads to many problems for the marine life that are in the water. In Canada, they also used what were called “slots” for the fish. The slot number refers the range of inches the fish needs to be in order to keep it. The slot number is different depending on what type of fish it is and where we are fishing. They also had a rule where each person could only bring back a certain amount of fish, to prevent depletion. When I go fishing in Townsend, WI with my family we normally fish for bass. These don’t have a slot number in that area, they must be sixteen inches or more to be able to be kept. Therefore, this is important that we are educated on fishing regulations and laws in the United States. However, it also important that we know about these things if we are travelling to fish in a different country because their laws and regulations could be different depending on where we are fishing.