Growing up, I have always had a fascination with the water. I have been a swimmer my whole life, was a lifeguard, and have always loved to surf since I was a child. This has made the ocean a pretty important part of my life. I care deeply for it and everything that makes it’s home there. Right now, the fishing industry is an important part of many people’s diets worldwide. A large population is dependent on seafood for a healthy meal and lots of protein. However, as the demand of fish rises, more is taken out of the ocean. This can end up having devastating effects. This is why overfishing causes the breakdown of the ocean ecosystem.
Years ago, the oceans were filled with way more life than they are now. Since the expansion of the fishing industry, the fish populations have started to dwindle. It is so widespread that a majority of the different kinds of fish are being overfished. In an article released by the United Nations, they explain how bad the situation is when they say, “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.” Where there were once areas full of sea creatures, now they are barren wastelands.
When these fish disappear more than just people are harmed. A lot of other living things are dependent on fish for their diet or help keep the delicate balance in check. Many of the most popular types of fish that we eat are an important part of the food chain. A sudden shift in the population of fish can have devastating effects on the other parts of the food chain. Writing for Dartmouth, Krishan Canzius describes how serious this is when he writes
Recent reports suggest that over fishing has caused a 90% decline in shark populations across the world’s oceans and up to 99% along the US east coast, which are some of the best managed waters in the world. Because sharks are at the top of the food chain, a decline in their numbers has devastating consequences on marine ecosystems
Sharks are often considered to be at the top of the food chain in the seas. They often keep other populations in check by eating them. So, with their sudden disappearance, other creature’s populations have been allowed to explode. This in turn can end up destroying entire areas, when they eat too much. Another problem caused by overfishing and the disappearance of certain fish is it ends up threatening biodiversity in the ocean. The UN also mentions this when they say, “In the last decade, in the north Atlantic region, commercial fish populations of cod, hake, haddock and flounder have fallen by as much as 95%, prompting calls for urgent measures.” Many different kinds of life live together in the ocean in a delicate balance like the sharks and their prey. It is important to keep a large amount of that diversity intact so that life under water does not end up getting disrupted. Since certain kinds of fish are popular, their populations are shrinking at a much faster rate. In turn, this ends up reducing the amount of species in the ocean who each had an important part to play. Another harmful effect that hurts the water’s ecosystem is the methods used for fishing. The current methods that most fishermen use only considers what gets the biggest catch, not about being environmentally safe. Often, fishermen will drag a net along the ocean floor picking up everything along the way. At the end of the day when looking at their catch, they just discard everything that was unwanted. The trawls used were not good for rough surfaces so they