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Overfishing: what it is, causes, consequences and solutions

The world’s seas and oceans are currently facing numerous environmental problems (such as pollution) that significantly affect the performance of fisheries. One of the most important problems in recent years is overfishing. The overexploitation of natural resources is not exclusive to the marine environment, it also occurs in the land environment, with livestock and agricultural activities, and endangers food security, among other aspects. However, in the seas it takes on special importance due to the scarce social awareness that exists. Fisheries management focused on improving fish populations is failing due to the exclusion that it has made of the actors directly involved in the environment: the fishermen.

If you want to understand what overfishing is and what its consequences are, among other details, check out this AgroCorrn article which explains what overfishing is, its causes, consequences and solutions .

  1. What is overfishing
  2. Causes and consequences of overfishing
  3. Overfishing solutions

What is overfishing

The overfishing or overfishing occurs when the capacity of extracting resources from the sea and the ocean beyond its capacity for renewal. In other words, this phenomenon implies an excessive level of capture of a species if we take into account the time it has to regenerate.

Overfishing, as established by the FAO, can occur in 3 different ways, affecting:

  • Overfishing at population growth: occurs when juveniles of the target species are caught before reaching the necessary size.
  • Overfishing at recruitment: occurs when fishing reduces the number of adult individuals that spawn to the point that the maintenance of the species cannot be ensured.
  • Ecosystem overfishing: this type of overfishing transforms mature and efficient marine ecosystems with high biomass into unstable and inefficient ones, which are low biomass.

Causes and consequences of overfishing

The overcapacity of the fleets of the different species is largely caused by the measures and regulations of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) aimed at the time to renew the European fleet. With this, the vessels increased their tonnage and power and, in addition, introduced new technologies to increase productivity. However, far from improving the efficiency of the activity, the oversized vessels accelerated the process of exploitation of seas and oceans , exceeding the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of some populations of commercial species. So what are the causes of overfishing and how does overfishing affect the environment ?

Causes of overfishing

  • Mismanagement of fisheries, as discussed above.
  • Illegal and unregulated fishing.
  • Indiscriminate fishing.
  • The use of less selective arts.
  • The world population and demand for food (fish and shellfish in this case) growing.

Consequences of overfishing

  • Loss of biodiversity and imbalance of marine ecosystems .
  • Approximately 80% of fish stocks are overexploited.
  • Decrease in populations in general and, specifically, those of marine predators, this being one of the causes of the proliferation of jellyfish in the Mediterranean.

Overfishing solutions

If you have come to this article wondering about how to end overfishing, you will be interested in this section, which explains what measures should be taken to avoid overfishing .

To reduce fishing intensity, it is important to properly manage quotas and space-time closures from a sustainable approach. This implies raising the fishing communities to management and governance scenarios, allowing:

  • The integration of these people, their knowledge, interests and concerns in the design of plans, programs and projects, as well as in the resolution of environmental, economic and social problems.
  • Better communication of fishermen with administrations and the scientific community (technicians) in order to address fisheries issues from an integrated and multidisciplinary dimension.
  • Encourage the commitment and participation of fishermen, who, after all, are the most direct managers of the environment.
  • The legitimation of fishing regulations and, therefore, their greater success.

In addition, it is necessary to know other complementary alternatives to those exposed to know how to avoid overfishing :

  • Information and awareness campaigns aimed at fishermen and other agents involved in fisheries management.
  • Regulate other non-professional fishing activities, such as recreational fishing, which also have an impact on the ecosystem and its biodiversity.
  • Support small gear fishing (more selective and respectful of the marine environment), slowing down and reversing the recession it is currently facing.
  • Develop and implement less harmful doors for the seabed in trawlers, as some fisheries in the Valencian Community are considering. In this other article you can learn more about what is trawling .

If you want to read more articles similar to Overfishing: what it is, causes, consequences and solutions , we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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