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Published by Elizabeth Thomason

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Published by: Elizabeth Thomason on May 26, 2009
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Overfishing and The world- 1 -Overfishing and the WorldByElizabeth Thomason
Overfishing and The world- 2 -The Declining Fish Stock ProblemThe codfish were so thick in the water that “a boat could hardly be rowed through them.”So said explorer John Cabot in 1497 as he described one of the world’s richest fishing grounds— the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. By the late 1600’s, the annual catch of cod at Newfoundlandhad reached almost 100,000 metric tons. During the next century, the yield doubled. Today,however;
the situation has changed dramatically. The codfish stock is now so depleted that in1992 the Canadian government imposed its own ban on Atlantic cod fishing, leaving anestimated 35,000 people looking for work in other sectors. In 1997 the moratorium is still ineffect. But where did all the codfish go?During the 1960’s, international fishing fleets converged on Newfoundland’s offshore banks to harvest huge quantities of cod. By 1968, trawlers from more than a dozen countrieswere taking 800,000 tons of fish a year from Newfoundland’s banks. This was three times theannual average catch for the previous century. While colder waters, the proliferation of seals, andthe migration of codfish may also have played a part in the depletion of the codfish population, alarge portion of blame for the cod disaster must be placed on human greed, or Over Fishing.What future is there for the Atlantic codfish as well as
all the other fish that are being driven toextinction? Some doubt that there are enough young fish to mature, spawn, and replenish thespecies.For years man has fished the Ocean blue with the idea that “there are plenty of fish in thesea”. This thought has been challenged now for some time. While the price of fish is not the mostimportant concern being addressed here rather it is the far reaching
environmental impact that poses the greatest threat. Fewer fish? The seas, we have believed, contain an unlimited supply of 
Overfishing and The world- 3 -edible fish. We are finding that some fish species are largely exhausted, fished out of the oceans(Berg &
Hager, 2007). What has been responsible?Modern fishing vessels are like “floating factories” with their own canning and freezingequipment aboard, are able to handle and process more fish. Some have a storage capacity of over 10,000 gross tons. As Greenpeace says on their web site, “The ships are fitted out like giantfloating factories - containing fish processing and packing plants, huge freezing systems, and powerful engines to drag enormous fishing gear through the ocean. Put simply: the fish don'tstand a chance”. Special transport boats often bring in the catch for the fishing vessels, allowingthem to remain at sea. The trawlers greatest advantage thereby becomes its ability both to travela long distance and to stay at sea for up to a year. Hundreds of such boats operate today out of the world’s key fishing spots.In some fishing waters, ranked as among the world’s best, are many modern trawlers,employed by the Soviet Union, Japan, Spain, Germany and other nations. Today, virtually all thespecies for which those waters are famous suffer from drastic over fishing. As the fish becomescarcer and competition in obtaining available fish stiffens, ever-newer technology is pressedinto service. One web site, MarineBio.org states that Japan is,“… providing US$2-3 billion annually. These subsidies areintended to support the fishing industry in these countries, however theydo more harm than good with the increased capacity causing theoverexploiting of commercial fish stocks and increasing the amount of waste due to bycatch”This shows another problem besides declining fish stocks, bycatch is the unintentionalcatching of other species that do not wind up being used but are killed unintentionally.

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