Overfishing – The Alarming Facts And What We Can Do To Help Stop It

Overfishing

To put it simple and get straight to the facts of why our current fishing systems are destroying our oceans …..

Overfishing Facts

  1. These trawlers are war-like trawlers. They have sonars that are so advanced at finding schools of fish, that it is within military like position…… The oceans do not stand a chance with technology like this when all the companies care about is making money.
  2. Bottom Trawling is destroying the oceans floors. With heavy nets dragging across the oceans floors for hundreds of kilometres, tearing apart coral reefs, historic artefacts and other sensitive sea floor life.
  3. In over 40 years there has been a recorded decrease in marine species by 39%.
  4. The European Union is the worlds primary importer of fish.
  5. In the north Atlantic and near by sea’s, over 39% of fish stocks are over fished.
  6. 61% of the worlds fish stocks are fished.

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As some of you may know, I attended a special screening of ‘Atlantic’, which was put on by Slow Food Dublin the other week. It was such an interesting film and I am delighted I went. Afterwards the panel discussion was great and the room was full of some very interesting people whom had a lot of very interesting things to say. The panel, which was hosted by Anthony O’Toole, consisted of

  • Risteard Ó Dhomnaill, ‘Atlantic’ Director
  • Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery
  • Niall Sabongi, owner of Klaw, Poké and Urbanmonger.

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By watching this documentary, with the panel discussion afterwards, I came to realise that overfishing is a huge problem in our world and something needs to be done about it. It is never a problem when it was the local fishermen fishing and selling their products to the fish mongers, it is the greed and power of those who can afford to employ people to take out super trawlers around our oceans and suck everything out of it.

 

 

As someone who has grown up always loving the ocean and curious about everything in it, someone who scuba dives to be surrounded by the oceans magic and some one who respects the sea, it saddens me deeply by what I have learnt is happening to our amazing oceans.

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Now to start off, for those of you who don’t already know, I do not eat fish, I go by an almost vegan diet and definitely a vegan lifestyle. So I am against anything that is cruel and anything  that is not doing the world any favours. A big problem the world is currently having is overfishing.

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Daily, f*cking daily there are tens of thousands of fish taken out of the ocean every day and at this rate, I really don’t see how we even have any fish left in our oceans. When these trawlers (certain ones which are banned from different countries as it is known that they dip into the illegal side of things) fish. But they not only fish, they catch different types of fish, mammals and who knows what else. What the are doing is in no way sustainable and very soon we will see a lot less species of fish in our oceans. Now keep in mind most of these fish have been around for thousands, if not millions of years, long before we came along! I just don’t understand how we can ever justify wiping our oceans over the next few decades. Research has shown, that by 2050 only an elite few will be able to afford to buy fish as it will be such a delicacy at a ludicrous price. We can stop that from happening and we NEED to stop it from happening by taking IMMEDIATE action now! See below for ways in which we can help.

 

“Fishing lines can reach as much as 120 km, furnished with thousands of hooks. Some trawlers reach 170 metres in length and can take on board the volume equivalent of 12 jumbo jets, and drift-nets can exceed 60 km in length. Fishing vessels cover large distances at high speed, from coastal zone to high seas.”

-UNEP

 

This is destruction to our oceans!! These trawlers stay out on sea for several months at a time. Almost 40% of the fish caught in our oceans is Bycatch, fish that were not the target, fish that are too small or that are too young and will never make it to the market and are just dumped dead, back into the sea. Not only is this a huge amount of wasted life, it is also a huge loss to our eco systems and will cause a spiral of destruction throughout marine life and then to us humans.

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Ireland is no angel, Ireland has a lot to answer, mostly why it allows huge trawlers (some of which are banned in other countries) to fish in our oceans, taking way over the quota, taking away our marine life and also taking away the jobs of our fishermen…… now I won’t eat fish, but I do belief the loss of our sea life can be amended somewhat by allowing local fishermen to fish within their quota and by doing strict checks when out on sea with no notice and when docking. Did you know that to do an inspection on a trawler, the captain and crew are given about two hours notice, therefore allowing them to discard anything they would’t want an inspector to see.

Shark Fining

I haven’t even gotten into shark finning which is just so disgusting, I can’t even deal with it. Basically shark finning is fucking disgusting and anyone who supports or believes in shark finning is a scumbag. Plain and simple. Sharks have been around for 400 million years and overfishing and shark finning has wiped out 90% of the sharks in our oceans.

For those that don’t know, shark finning involves fishing for sharks and capturing them and cutting off their fins while the sharks are still alive, and dumping them back into the sea only for them to bleed out or drown.  The uses of shark fins are for: traditional Chinese medicines and Chinese shark soup. Guys, China is one of the most intelligent countries in the world, so why there is such backward thinking in that a shark fin will keep their health better is beyond me. Shark finning needs to end, it is totally barbaric. There is a reason why sharks have been around for 400 million years, they are intelligent, far more intelligent than we think and in ways that we don’t even know. Sharks are also so vulnerable, as sharks grow at a slow rate and also mature sexually at a slow rate, they are therefore not able to keep up with the rate that they are being torn out of the sea only to be killed or thrown back in to die a painful and torturous death. This is not right and they have not survived for this long only to be treated like this.

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Moral of the story in both overfishing and shark fining (and many more issues that I didn’t even touch on) is that money and greed in the hands of the wrong humans will be the worlds end. Mankind is the world biggest predator and this needs to change and be addressed as soon as possible.

 

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How To Help Stop Overfishing & The Madness Behind It

The best way to try to counteract this madness, because that is all it is, is madness, is actually yet again down to the consumer. You need to question where your fish is coming from!!!

  1. Shop at your local fish monger. You have a higher chance of tracing your fish back to where he/ she came from by talking to those in the know. It was said during the panel discussion that Fish mongers most likely will have a good relationship with those who fish and deliver the fish.
    • They will have fish that are in season in local seas
    • Your fish won’t have traveled frozen in a truck for too long.
    • Your fish also won’t be doused in chemicals or bleached to keep its colour and ‘freshness’.
  2. Avoid big fish,in that have been overfished for years like marlon, tuna and shark (who the f eats shark anyway?? We all know how cruel shark finning is, why buy into that even more, it’s disgusting).
  3. Use good seafood guides. Guides and helpful apps like SeaChoice and Seafood Watch will help you make better choices for where you are located around the world, if you are eating out or doing a weekly shop.
  4. Ask your restaurant where their fish comes from, ask if it is from a sustainable source, if they can not provide you with a quick answer of a local fishing man or company, it is not a sustainable fishing method.
  5. Inform yourself and inform others!! This is the best thing you can do. Educate yourself and educate others. Some great websites to read are ..
  6. Watch documentaries such as

 

So please take from this what you will, but be a conscious consumer, shop in the right places and ASK QUESTIONS and of course EDUCATE yourself and others.

For information and image source: SharktrustOverfishingWorld Wild Life & Green Peace

 

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