Many marine ecologists think that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. Our appetite for fish is exceeding the oceans' ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Yellow fin and big eye tuna may be commercially extinct in 3-5 years if fishing is not controlled.

The reality of modern fishing is that the industry is dominated by fishing vessels that far out-match nature's ability to replenish fish. Giant ships using state-of-the-art fish-finding sonar can pinpoint schools of fish quickly and accurately. These ships are like giant floating factories.

90 percent of the large fish that many of us love to eat are disappearing. Depletion of these top predator species can cause a shift in entire oceans ecosystems where commercially valuable fish are replaced by smaller, plankton-feeding fish.

This century may even see bumper crops of jellyfish replacing the fish consumed by humans. These changes endanger the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, and hence threaten the livelihoods of those dependent on the oceans, both now and in the future.

Brief History of Overfishing
• 11th century overuse has led to the destruction of local and regional ecosystems, resulting in a considerable reduction of stocks in fish and marine mammals. Once depleting a specific ecosystem, the fisheries moved on to unspoilt areas - from Europe to the Americas; the North Atlantic; the Pacificleaving devastation in their wake.

• 14th century There have been plenty of early warning signs about depletion on fish population . • 18th century whaling and sealing became the first global industries

19th century There were already fierce discussions about the destruction caused by bottom trawling. 20th century Economic arguments outweighed any precautionary and disciplinary approach.

21st century With almost no technological and geographical limits left by the beginning of this century, the fisheries crises has turned into a global threat to the oceans. Now no place on Earth is too remote for today’s industrial fishery fleets. Supported by satellites and spotter planes, they know no limits.

Overfishing in the Philippine Marine Fisheries Sector

The fisheries sector of the Philippines is a significant contributor to its economy. The total output of the sector comprises approximately five percent of the Gross National Product. Furthermore, fisheries production meets more than two-thirds of the national animal protein consumption .

The fisheries industry employs about one million fishermen and fish farmers, highlighting its importance as a generator of mainly rural jobs. Of these, 36 percent were in municipal marine fisheries, 29 percent were in commercial fisheries, 27 percent were in aquaculture and 8 percent were in inland fisheries. Thus, within the fisheries sector, the municipal marine and commercial fisheries are the most important subsectors in terms of employment.

The fisheries industry has been a steady dollar earner also. Fishery exports have been growing at very high rates annually. However, imports have increased as well, at even greater rates than exports. Because of this, the industry has been recording negative net exports recently, in quantity terms.

OVERFISHING IN THE MARINE FISHERIES Over time, the catch per unit effort for both small pelagic and demersal species has steadily fallen. By 1984, it was only approximately a third of the 1965 figure. In contrast, fishing effort rose in 1984 to greater than five times the 1965 level. Clearly, while more and more effort has been dedicated to catching fish, the yield per unit has been fast declining also.


In general, overfishing can be classified into four categories: growth overfishing - occurs when fish are caught even before they have a chance to grow. recruitment overfishing - happens when the adult fish population is caught in large numbers so that reproduction is impaired.

•ecosystem overfishing - takes place when the decline in a once abundant fish stock due to fishing is not compensated for by an increase in the stock of other species. •economic overfishing - occurs when increases in the fishing effort lead to profit levels that are below the desired maximum.



IUU (ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED, AND UNREGULATED ) FISHING IUU fishing is often an organized criminal activity, professionally coordinated and truly global. Also known as pirate fishing, its less colorful name. The ventures use various strategies to evade apprehension and avoid laws and agreements that protect marine resources.

The pirates or operators disguise the origin of their illegal catch so well that it is often sold legitimately into consumer markets mainly in Japan, the EU, the US, and other developed countries. From the islands of the South Pacific , to the coastal communities of West Africa, the pirate fishermen, who then claim their profits in European and Asian ports, are netting millions of dollars in much needed income which rightfully belongs to coastal communities.

The United Nations estimates that Somalia loses US$300 million a year to the pirates; Guinea loses US$100 million and globally more than US$4 billion is lost each year. Given that pirates don’t report their catches, their level of fishing is hard to quantify. Catches of some species from IUU fishing are thought to be many times more than the permitted level due.

Governments around the world do little to check their activities or what is landed in their own ports, despite the various international commitments and plans. (Pirate police) The catch is often illegally transferred to factory ships, mixed with legally caught stocks and then knowingly sold in “legitimate” ports.

ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION The fishing techniques they use are destroying ocean life. Tuna stocks around Tanzania, Somalia, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu are targeted each year with giant nets that scoop up entire shoals, including the young fish vital for breeding and future stock growth. Those that won’t make money on the market, but could still provide food and income for others, are thrown back dead.

II. BYCATCH Bycatch from long lining is another hazard, as is shrimp trawling. One film of shrimp trawling shows fishermen filling a few small boxes with the target catch and shoveling tons of unwanted fish and sea life back over the side. For every kilo of shrimp landed, over 3 kilos of tropical marine life is caught and dies. Shrimp fishing is responsible for over 27 percent of the unnecessary destruction of marine life.

III. USE OF POISONS The use of poisons is widespread, in some regions in both fresh and marine waters especially in coral reefs and coastal lagoon fisheries

local fishers often resort to using poisons such as cyanide or pesticides. Pesticides are readily available to farmers, which are often also part-time fishers. Techniques used vary across regions/localities. They are effective at killing or stunning, the fish, which are then collected by divers, or through netting and seining. The poisons kill also other organisms from the ecosystem, including the coral reef-building organisms.


It is practice of fishing using dynamite, homemade bombs, or other explosives to stun or kill schools of fish for easy collection. This often illegal practice can be extremely destructive to the surrounding ecosystem, as the shockwaves often destroy the underlying habitat (such as coral reefs close to a coastline) that supports the fish. Also this means danger for the fishermen as well, with accidents and injuries.

Dead fish as the result of blast fishing

V. MUROAMI "MURO-AMI is a system of dive-in net fishing that originated in Okinawa in the early 1900s and progressed with Japanese expansion and economic penetration to Southeast Asia and in the Philippines.

They scour strand coastal foreshores, coral reefs and atolls, moving constantly in search of new ground, causing considerable damage and species depletion. The system intrudes on the communal, coastal fishing communities, threatening their livelihood, as well as destroying biodiversity of coastal fishing grounds.

The work is extremely hazardous, with children diving without protective clothing or gear, except for home made wooden goggles. Every year children lose their lives or their hearing. MURO-AMI was banned in 1986 after a national outcry when bodies of 100 Muro-ami victims, mostly children who were unable to escape from the nets after diving, were found in a graveyard along the shores of Panlaitan Island in Busuanga (Palawan).



Bottom trawling is towing a trawl, which is a fishing net along the sea floor to catch bottom dwelling sea creatures.

The scientific community divides bottom trawling into benthic trawling and demersal trawling. Benthic trawling is towing a net at the very bottom of the ocean and demersal trawling is towing a net just above the benthic zone. Many fishers, conservationists and academics agree that bottom trawling is the most ecologically damaging fishing gear.

Sea floor before a bottom trawler passed through

Same section of sea floor after being trawled



A fishing method that is extremely destructive which uses set or lay monofilament gillnets that decimated the populations of inshore fishes. Lay gillnets are deployed as invisible walls that snare everything that runs into them, depleting both targeted and non-targeted species, destroying bottom habitat and protected species, and severely impacting the snorkeling and diving industries.

Irresponsible gillnet fishing destroys the resource for everybody so that a few greedy individuals can profit. The mesh-sizes are often so small that most of the fish caught have not yet reached reproductive size.


• • • •

Conservation through sustainable development Information, Education and Communications Alternative livelihood Monitoring IUU fishing vessels

• • • •

All countries must be responsible Coastal countries must be responsible Using regional fisheries organization Will power

http://www.oceansatlas.com/world_fisheries_and_aquaculture/html/issu es.htm http://www.pacfish.org/wpapers/gillnets.html http://www.mcbi.org/shining_sea/theme_fishing.htm http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2003/2003-02-18-06.asp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_fishing http://www.oneocean.org/overseas/may99/_closer_look_at_blast_fishin g_in_the_phil.htm http://www.coconutstudio.com/Fishing%20Methods%202%20%20Nets.htm http://wwf.org.ph/newsfacts.php?pg=det&id=104 http://fishkillevents.msi.upd.edu.ph/content/view/56/1/ http://www.apfic.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=37&lid=2 17 disrael@pidsnet.pids.gov.ph http://swr.ucsd.edu/enf/mcs/mcs.htm www.interenvironment.org/wd1intro/glossary.htm

Thanks for listening!

Prepared by: Zayra B. Bulawan 07-78373

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