Swimming Deeper into Overfishing

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:23 AM

There are many different opinions on what the causes of overfishing has on individuals, and also what really is cusing a decline in fish populations.  "It is often suggested that many serious problems facing the world’s living marine resources stem in part from the failure of management and governance structures to adopt a holistic ‘ecosystems approach’" (Murawski, 2000).  Ecosystems are managed with the idea of sustainability and biodiversity (Murawski, 2000).  Traditional overfishing paradigms are focused mainly on single species of fish, and how the population increase or decrease effect the ecosystem negatively or positively.  Fish that have or have had economic importance to build revenue and make a profit for companies have become main targets of overfishing for the increased demand of these species of fish.  Management of these species have been trying to build the population back from the current depleted one as a trade off.  This may seem like the population is under control, however, large fishing companies who want to create a larger profit from the popular fish speices, continue to fish without acknowledging the impact this mass fishing has on the ecosystem.  "Overfishing and depletion of some stocks may become so severe that they may be regarded as economically extinct" (Muraski, 2000).  Commercial fishing fleets are exceeding the ecological limits to sustain the fish population (Gissurarson, 2000).  The large fishing companies are more focused on making a profit than the damage they are causing to the ecosystem.  If the commercial fleeting companies continue to overfish, they fish population will decrease to where the species will become extinct. In Iceland's fertile waters fish were abundant and thriving while fisheries were making a large profit of the sales of fish to the public.  Once the population started decreasing government tried to limit the access to fishing limits.  Iceland fought over the fish with Great Britain to gain rights to the fishing ground (Gissurarson, 2000).  Iceland won the battles over the fish, and began overfishing which depleted the population.  The species of threatened from mortality, and needed to be restricted.  Attempts to restrict commercial fleets to stop fishing and the fisheries try and catch as many fish as possible in the time allowed.  Which still lead to overfishing the area.  It seems that everywhere we turn there are more overfishing problems, and it's not just locally, but globally.  Starting locally we can make a difference and begin to change.

Murawski, S. A. (2000). Definitions of overfishing from an ecosystem perspective. –
ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 649–658.

Gissurarson, H. (2000).   Overfishing: The Icelandic Solution. The Institute of Economic Affairs.

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