Fishing sustainably

Several marine species have become threatened and forced towards the brink of extinction due to overfishing, a phenomenon where the size of fishing catches exceeds the biological limits of the fish stocks. This does not mean that fishing must be stopped, but rather that it must be controlled to happen at rates that match breeding populations. There are many ways to accomplish this, and there are ways for consumer to ensure their fish is sustainably sourced.

Over 3 billion people rely on fish as their source of protein, and more consume fish in their diets. This has led fisheries to believe that larger catches will increase their profits, when it instead has led to overfishing and large amounts of bycatch, unintended fish being caught and released or discarded. As the breeding populations have declined, so have the profits of many fisheries.

Many nations have implemented smarter management systems and better fishing rights to protect marine wildlife against overfishing, bycatch, and other harmful actions to marine life, and many of these implementations are working. This proves that smarter management systems and fishing rights, along with better tracking, can help many fish populations recover and can allow us to fish sustainably, in other words, fish to match the breeding population.

Many organizations and fisheries have come together to push these sustainable initiatives into place in more areas, protecting more marine life. One organization that certifies a large number of sustainable foods is the Marine Stewardship Council. With their certification, one can be sure that the fish is sustainably sourced and the companies are taking proper precautions to ensure healthy marine life.

Overfishing has driven many marine species closer to extinction, an issue affecting the oceans and over 3 billion people worldwide. Smarter management systems and better fishing rights have proven effective in restoring ocean populations. When purchasing seafood, look for sustainable certification to ensure that sustainably sourced food is being preferred so that other companies are encouraged to follow the same path and not destroy our marine life.

Written by Zein Tynon ’24.


Photo credits:

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash.