Pros and Cons of Overfishing

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Overfishing is often seen as a negative experience. How could there be any positives from destroying an ecosystem by removing most, if not all, of its species? In certain circumstances, however, overfishing can be more than just environmentally beneficial. It can also be extremely profitable. Let’s take a look.

The Pros of Overfishing

1. It can remove an invasive species from an ecosystem.
As the world becomes a smaller place thanks to how we can travel internationally, different species are introduced into ecosystems that would normally be foreign to them. This action can devastate that ecosystem. Overfishing the invasive species helps to limit the damage.

2. Targeted overfishing can help biomass recovery.
Seafood is a protein staple the world over. Some areas receive more than 20% of their protein intake from the world’s waters. With limited, targeted overfishing in certain regions, biomass recovery can occur in other regions so that the jobs and economic benefits from fishing can always be received.

3. It encourages the development of aquaculture.
Fish farms are growing in response to the global demand for seafood. These farms can then directly supply a market with seafood and release new fish out into the wild to help replenish the wild population that overfishing affects.

The Cons of Overfishing

1. It changes ecosystems in unforeseen ways.
Many of the seafood products that are consumed by humans are also consumed by predator species. By removing certain species through overfishing, other species lack food resources and begin to die off as well thanks to the disruption caused within the food chain.

2. It is not a sustainable practice.
Overfishing does not leave a biomass with the ability to recover. If every biomass is targeted in such a way, then eventually there won’t be a seafood resource in the world’s waters any more.

3. It raises costs.
Overfishing is based on the basic economic principle of supply and demand. When there is a lot of seafood available, then prices are kept low and consumers like this. Overfishing creates higher prices because there is fewer opportunities to make a profit. This eventually eliminates seafood as a protein resource except for the wealthy class.

The pros and cons of overfishing show that when there are specific circumstances in specific ecosystems present, it can be a good thing. Otherwise overfishing is generally something that should be avoided at all costs.