Many of the world’s fisheries experience overfishing. Some of them have seen 90% reductions in available marine life. These reductions affect the livelihoods of fisherman and affects the balance of life in our waters. The primary solution to overfishing is to stop fishing affected fisheries immediately, although with the food demands of the world, this isn’t always a possibility.
That’s why these additional solutions to overfishing are also worth considering.
1. Institute safe catching limits.
When a fishery is continually assessed and catching limits are scientifically determined, then the total number of fish that are caught will not negatively affect the region. These limits must be placed outside of any economic incentives or political influence in order for them to be effective.
2. Place controls on secondary catches.
Fishermen may be fishing for a specific species, but they may have bycatch that must be controlled in some way. The unintentional killing of fish and other marine life that is not part of the target catch must have limitations in place to prevent these actions from occurring.
3. Protect key habitat areas.
Spawning locations, delicate areas of the sea floor, reefs, and other integral habitat areas must be directly protected from fishing activities. Enforcement officials must also be given the power to protect these key habitat areas so that any violators can be immediately stopped.
4. Change enforcement protocols.
There are very few monitoring systems in place that guarantee fishing activities are not excessive. Controlling where fishing activities take place is also limited under current enforcement protocols. Through GPS tracking, strict weight limits, and video monitoring, along with strong fine schedules, it would become economically impossible to cheat the system.
5. Eliminate hidden subsidies.
Sometimes a region is targeted for overfishing because hidden subsidies may be in place. People follow the money in this industry, so eliminating these subsidies will discourage overfishing in high-risk areas.
6. Know what you are eating.
Choose to eat seafood that was harvested with the lowest possible environmental impact. Several guides are available online which show the types of seafood that are available in your local area that come from sustainable fishing methods.
The effects of overfishing are still at a point where they are reversible. By taking actions today, we can create a world where future generations will not need to worry about this issue.