Overfishing refers to the over-exploitation of the world’s oceans. Because of it, large amounts of fish and seafood are caught at a rate that’s too fast for these marine animals to reproduce and replace themselves. This, in turn, contributes to the rapid reduction the population of aquatic species around the world.
Overfishing has been around for a couple of centuries. It started when humans began targeting whales to obtain their blubber and use it as lamp oil, and it became even more rampant in the middle of the 20th century, when governments provided loans and other subsidies to fishermen to increase their fishing capacity and give people better access to protein sources.
Many people are against overfishing, pointing out that it can damage the environment and can destroy the earth’s future, but it also has proponents who defend it and point out that it can also be beneficial. To understand these arguments, it’s important to know what the advantages and disadvantages of overfishing are.
List of Pros of Overfishing
1. It lowers the cost of fish and seafood.
When the demand for fish and seafood is larger than the supply, their cost can double or even triple. Overfishing prevents this from happening by ensuring that these kinds of foods are always available and that the demand for them is always met. It also uses modern equipment and strategies that let fishermen keep their overhead costs low, and they can pass these savings on to consumers.
2. It helps meet the increased demand for food.
The world’s population is steadily rising every year, which means that there are now billions of people who need to eat. Overfishing can help meet the rising food demand by ensuring that fish and seafood are readily available and that most of them are affordable enough for ordinary people.
3. It helps create numerous jobs.
Fishing companies require lots of workers to man the sea vessels, haul in fishing nets, and do other tasks. As a result, they create many employment opportunities and provide jobs to hundreds and even thousands of people.
List of Cons of Overfishing
1. It can damage the environment.
One of the biggest disadvantages of overfishing is that it can destroy the delicate marine ecosystem. This is particularly true now that fishing companies are no longer catching enough fish from relatively shallow parts of the ocean and are moving to deeper waters. Overfishing can result to overpopulation of certain species (many of which can be harmful to other animals and even to humans) since the natural checks and balances are no longer in place. It can also force marine animals to swim to distant regions to escape fishermen, which puts them at risk of injuries and even death due to predators, harsh weather, and other factors.
2. It can lead to the extinction of species.
As mentioned above, overfishing can put a lot of stress on marine animals and greatly reduce their population. If it’s not controlled in time, it can end up making certain species extinct. This won’t only upset the marine ecosystem but will also greatly reduce the amount and variety food that are available to humans.
3. It’s difficult to control.
Governments around the world have been trying to keep overfishing under control, but most of their efforts are unsuccessful. Illegal fishing is still rampant because fishing laws are not properly enforced, and many fishermen still use unsustainable harvesting practices despite advice from experts.
Overfishing has both advantages and disadvantages. The people and the government have to weigh these carefully to maintain a steady supply of fish and seafood without destroying the environment.