for millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, many of the global seafood stocks are being threatened today due to destructive fishing practices.
- Poisons and Explosives
The use of explosives in fishing has also been used for centuries, but it is now being employed at an increased rate. Explosives can create large craters on the seafloor and kill target fish as well as many non-targeted organisms as well[sc:2].
- Bottom Trawling
Trawling nets can crush and flatten fish habitat, churn up sediment in the water column, and cause permanent damage to marine ecosystems[sc:2].
- Large-Scale Pelagic Driftnets
- Ghost Fishing
With increased oceanic fishing activity globally and the use of synthetic fish nets that last for a long time, there is an increased rate of ghost fishing occurrences throughout the world’s oceans today[sc:2].
It has been estimated that millions of tons of bycatch are thrown back into the ocean after being injured or killed. According to the World Wildlife Fund, bycatch makes up approximately 40% of total catches globally[sc:2].
A few solutions
The following are some of the primary ways that we can reduce destructive fishing methods worldwide:
- Exploitive and destructive fishing methods should be banned and bans should be enforced.
- The livelihoods of the poor who rely on destructive fishing methods should be improved and affordable sustainable fishing methods should be provided[sc:3].
- Fragile marine areas should be protected in order to allow fish stocks to recover and protect marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. Closed seasons should be implemented in order to protect sensitive species and juveniles[sc:3].
- Local community stewardship over marine resources should be encouraged. Implementing local community rights of use to control marine resources will help to facilitate the use of sustainable fishing practices and the punishing of those who do not use them within local community structures[sc:3].
- The certification of sustainable fisheries, such as through the Marine Stewardship Council, should be encouraged. Consumers must be educated about the negative environmental impacts of destructive fishing to enable informed choices.
What you can do
You can help to reduce the pressures on wild fish stocks and to encourage good fishing practices around the world by purchasing only seafood that has been certified as sustainably sourced, such as those seafood products that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or through the World Wildlife Fund[sc:1].
Donating to organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund will support their work that focuses on sustainable fisheries and conserving the marine environment[sc:1].