The Negative Effects Of Overfishing

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The depletion of fishing stocks, caused by extensive overfishing, negatively effects marine ecosystems and threatens the livelihood of many South Africans who depend on the fishing industry. Overfishing is the practice of removing more fish from an ecosystem than can be replenish through natural reproduction. Overfishing – a rising threat to our planet (Basson, 2011) emphasises that fish stocks, both locally and globally, are seriously depleted and it is the consumers responsibility to support seafood companies who employ sustainable fishing techniques and do not contribute to the destruction of marine ecosystems. This is supported by Looking out for SA's sea life (O'Reilley, 2008) which addresses the negative effects of unsustainable fishing…show more content…
Overexploitation of a particular species of fish causes that species to become endangered. As all organisms in an ecosystem are interconnected, drastically reducing the size of a particular fish population disrupts the complex relationships that exists between that particular population and other fish species. Thus threatening the existence of other populations that depend of the now endangered species as a food source. As a result, other marine species that prey on the endangered species can also become endangered. This decreases the ecosystems biodiversity, consequently, decreasing its ability to resist unexpected environmental change. Thus a depletion of fishing stocks threatens other marine species and the health of the marine…show more content…
Existing government legislation prohibiting commercial fishing companies from catching endangered species and exploiting marine resources needs to be more strictly enforced so that it is effective in preventing a further decrease in fishing stocks. The negative effects of overfishing can be counteracted by fishing companies using different fishing techniques that target a certain type of fish; preventing the accidental capture of endangered fish species and decreasing the amount of by-catch(sea-life that is caught, killed and then discarded because it is unwanted). Aquaculture is another method that can be used to counteract the depletion of fishing stocks; instead of removing fish from dwindling wild stock they can be farmed sustainably under controlled conditions to meet consumers demand for fish and not harm the environment. Consumers have the power to create change as they are responsible for the demand of a certain product as if they buy more the company needs to produce more. Therefore, consumers can choose to only support seafood brands that use sustainable, environmentally-friendly fishing methods in order to decrease support for companies that exploit fishing stocks and contribute to environmental

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