What is meant by a fishery?
Fishery refers to the industry of catching or harvesting fish and other animals living in the sea or oceans such as crabs, lobsters, shellfish, shrimps, prawns etc. The fishery industry is one of the largest industries in the world and also one of the most harmful.
What is the difference between Exploitation or Over-Exploitation?
•Exploitation: it means the utilization of resources that provide advantages and benefits to humans in a way that doesn’t burden the oceanic life and allows them to maintain the balance in their respective populations.
•Over-exploitation: also known as over-fishing. It is the over consumption or excessive use of a resource in such a way that it puts stress on the oceanic life where only humans benefit from harvesting those sea/ocean animals and that, as a result causes their populations to decline as there is no check and balance.
Also check out: Pakistani Local Fishes and their Health Benefits
Impacts of over-Exploitation of fisheries on the environment:
1. Reduced populations of fish and other sea life. Over fishing causes a decrease in the number of fish in the sea that results in dwindling and unhealthy populations and as a result they may be endangered.
2. Over exploitation of certain sea creatures like crabs or lobsters may cause a negative impact on the marine/oceanic habitat by the disruption of the ecosystem in which these animals may play a vital role. Crabs and lobster production are especially harmful and destructive to the marine habitat. Also read: Impacts of Marine Species Harvesting on Environment.
3. Excessive fishing also results in ocean pollution inevitably as fishing equipment used to catch fish are left behind such as fishing rods, drag nets and nets that are lost which are made of plastic and hence have destructive impacts on the oceanic life as they are non biodegradable. These rogue, missing or abandoned nets are known as Ghost Nets.
4. When too many of fish or other sea creatures are harvested, it creates an imbalance in the food web and can disrupt the ecosystem hierarchy which may ultimately lead to the loss of important marine creatures like coral reefs, sea turtles that may depend on these species. You may also like to read: Coral Reef Destruction – Causes, Effects, and Solutions.
5. Over exploitation is unsustainable. This means that harvesting more than we should will leave less or no marine resources for the future generation and thus they will be deprived of these precious resources.
6. Large scale industrial nets (called trawls) used for harvesting fish and other creatures can cause extensive and long term damage to the sea bed. They may also catch fish that are not wanted and hence decrease the biodiversity of the ocean. Bottom trawling is the most harmful of ways to catch fish as it results in significant decline of the fish specie population since the weighted net used for catching fish also destroys the habitat it passes through. The most significant impact of it is on the coral reef structures that easily break when these nets pass through.
7. Fish are not the only species sourced from the oceans, but also coral reefs which are home to almost 25% of the marine biodiversity are also extracted for structural materials and as well as medicinal purposes. for example sponges.
8. Fishing has seriously affected many marine wildlife species like bluefin tuna, sea turtles, sharks etc. which get trapped in the nets or are severely injured due to the abandoned fishing gear equipment and nets. Many of these animals are endangered or already on the brink of extinction.
Also check out: Endemic or Native Fish Species of Pakistan
9. As marine wildlife disappears due to overfishing or overexploitation of these resources, the coastal human settlements and economies of regions based on fisheries will also suffer just as much. When there will be no more fish and seafood to harvest due to over fishing them and without allowing them a chance to recover and reproduce to increase their population, the more severe the crisis would be for those who depend entirely on fishing as their livelihood and source of income. Ultimately entire economies will also be affected. Also Check Out Overfishing and Fish Stock Depletion- Causes, Effects and Solutions.
10. Some regions where people do not have or cannot afford to buy modern fishing gear and equipment, they use unethical ways to catch fish and sea food. One such ways is the use of Dynamite Fishing where a dynamite is placed and exploded near densely populated fish zones that results in the destruction of the natural habitat.
You may also be interested in What Is Coral Gardening And Can It Help Save Coral Reefs?
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