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Overfishing: How long until we run out of Fish

25 December 2019

Oceans are running out of Fish so Fast – We might not have Fish in 2050

 

Hello Aluxers, and welcome back! We’re sure many of you love feasting on seafood…  and some of you might even enjoy fishing yourselves. You’re probably also aware that fishing methods have changed dramatically over the years. In today’s article we’re reflecting on a global phenomenon that impacts us all: Overfishing.

 

For the laid back Aluxers, who prefer watching their content instead of reading long articles, here’s all of the value packed inside a youtube video:

With that out of the way, let’s skip straight to the article:

What if?

What if there is no fish available to feed the 7 billion (plus) people in the world? What if we are forced to look for a substitute of this rich tasty source of protein? What if we are forced to farm our fish rather than fishing it from the ocean? What if our favourite fish species that we enjoy as a delicacy cease to exist?

Well Aluxers, before you start thinking about what our world would look like without our favourite fish on the plate, let’s dive in and understand how we can run out of fish in the future.

Introduction

Now Aluxers, some of you might be wondering what do we exactly mean when we say the word Overfishing, well in simple terms overfishing refers to the malpractice of fishing certain types of fish at a rate higher than the time taken by them to restore naturally.

In today’s world of rapid technological advancements, even the simplest act of fishing has evolved to a great extent and the disruptive techniques of fishing used in recent times have resulted in irreversible damage to our marine life.Globally fish is considered to be a major source of protein and with the world population of more than 7 billion people you can well imagine the quantities in which fish is consumed all over the world.

The worldwide consumption of seafood has doubled in the past 50 years and at present the annual global demand for seafood is 143.8 million tonnes. With such hefty demand all over the world, the fishing economy definitely looks promising, so let us take a closer look at it-

The Fishing Economy

As of June 2019, it was estimated that 177.8 million fish will be produced this year out of which 89% will be used for direct consumption. Globally, China is the top producer of fish and the global seafood market is valued at more than 150 billion USD. At present the Japanese seafood giant, Maruha Nichiro[Ni-shi-ro] Corporation is the largest fishing company by revenue, and the top 9 fishing companies form one third of the global revenue generated by fishing.

Fishing industry is highly fragmented at a local level but the top 13 fishing companies control 40% of the most valuable and biggest species consumed internationally. Platinum Arowana is the most expensive fish in the world and is valued at 400,000 USD, with such a high market value for a single fish, one can imagine how aggressive the fishing economy is right now. So let us try to understand what techniques the leading fishing companies are using to control the global sales.

Disruptive Fishing Techniques

The advancement in technology and the changing global consumer taste has led to numerous disruptive fishing techniques that have created an imbalance in various fish ecosystems.One such is the practice of shark finning, shark finning is a technique in which fins of sharks are cut and separated from the body of a shark and are used for sale as a delicacy. After the fins are seperated the sharks are alive but unable to swim in the oceans properly and this severely affects their survival.

Technological advancements have resulted in improved fishing nets and large scale fishing hauls powered by heavy duty engines that can catch fish way more effectively than the age old methods of fishing hooks. Many of the advanced technologies that are used for fishing at an industrial level like radar, sonar or the use of helicopters were actually developed for warfare, and today are being used on a daily basis for fishing in the deep seas. It is safe to say that these are some of the major contributors in Overfishing.

One such is the practice of bottom trawling in which large weighted nets are dragged on the ocean floor sweeping any ocean habitat that comes in their way. This practice is considered to be one of the most aggressive means of fishing and results in harm not only to the fish but also to other oceanic habitat like deep sea corals.Many of the deep sea corals found in various parts of the world date back to thousands of years in age and form pillars of the oceanic ecosystem,and a single swipe of the heavy metal trawl is sufficient to wipe their existence.

The advancement in technology of Fast freezing and processing has only encouraged these disruptive fishing practices, as a result of which it has become possible to rapidly process the catch in the deep seas and transform it to ready to cook fish. The industrial hauls used for fishing tonnes of fish in the deep seas are equipped with on board processing machinery that increase the efficiency of the fishing process.

Now we are definitely not against these technological advancements, but Aluxers do you think we have a right to encroach the oceans and destroy the natural ecosystem just to satisfy our own food fantasies? Well, just like all of us there are a few others who think and act differently and are investing more in sustainable technology for a better fishing industry and avoidance of overfishing, so let us explore what these alternatives look like-

Resource: These Are the Most Expensive Tropical Fish in the World!

Aquapod Fish Farm

The idea of fish farming is not new to the fishing industry, there are several near shore fish farms that are located on the coastal areas of major fish consuming countries like China, and half of the fish we consume at present are farmed. But similar to the disruptive techniques we discussed before, these nearshore fish farming techniques are harmful for the fish ecosystem.Due to the overcrowding of fish farms situated in the near shore waters, large amount of feed waste is created in the ocean floors, which accumulated over the years results in ecosystem deadlock.

The search for alternative to such disruptive fishing and fish farming practices, has resulted in innovative techniques like offshore fish farming.The offshore fish farming technique involves constructing a Aquapod in form of spherical cage net that is released in the deep seas to act as a breeder for the offshore fish farm.The aquapods are made up of recyclable material paired with metal structures that prevent formation of algae.

Unlike the near shore fish farming, this technique helps in breeding fish in their natural habitat and avoids overcrowding or polluting the near shore waters, as a result of which it helps in balancing the ocean ecosystem without compromising on the quality of the fish produce.These aquapods are considered to be the future of fish farming and powered with GPS and AI can also be mobilized in the deep waters.

Challenges and Threats

Technological advances like fish farming have helped us in meeting the ever rising worldwide demand for fish but the continuance of disruptive fishing techniques can lead us to a day when we will run out of naturally produced fish.The ocean habitat have thrived over a period of thousands of years and with the present scale of adverse deep sea fishing practices it would be impossible to restore it to normal.

Although tech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts are investing in better sustainable fishing techniques, it is also the responsibility of governments to put a check on overfishing practices in their oceanic borders.

The top fishing companies in the world have signed the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) initiative that aims at ending unsustainable fishing practices, but it will take a lot of innovation to fulfill this aim in the near future.Even as individuals we have a responsibility of choosing better seafood options in order to avoid extinction of a particular species of fish.

Conclusion

With the rising world population and increasing demand for better fish, the rapid industrialization of the fishing process is merely unstoppable. But in order to maintain a good ecological balance and allow the oceans to restore its fish naturally it is necessary to adopt more sustainable fishing practices.We are confident that new innovations like aquapod fish farms will definitely help in striking the right balance and avoid overfishing.

Resource: Most Expensive Fishing Lure in the World

Question

Aluxers, we know we have a large international audience and would like to know whether the place you belong to is facing this pressing issue of overfishing? We would also like to know what you would do if we run out of fish in the future, would you look for a substitute to your favorite fish or stop eating fish altogether?