By Capucine Thibault-Liger

By Maeve Bouchez

According to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), overfishing happens «when too many fish are caught and there are not enough adults to breed and sustain a healthy population»   

In theory, overfishing can happen anywhere where there are bodies of water and fish or marine life. It mostly occurs in the Mediterranean Sea, however. Indeed, 62% of its fish stocks are now overfished and at serious risk of depletion. Amongst overfishing’s most significant drivers, intensive and illegal fishing is currently leading to the rapid decline of ocean wildlife populations. This all boils down to the overconsumption of fish by the ever-growing human population, and therefore the overproduction of seafood by lucrative fishing companies, only concerned about maximizing their profits.    

Overfishing is also directly linked to bycatch.  Bycatch refers to the marine species and creatures that are unintentionally captured by trawlers, as their dragging nets can’t filter what they catch: they simply destroy everything in their wake. Countless sea creatures are therefore harmed or even killed in the process.  

The consequences of overfishing are irreversible, as it disrupts the entire marine food chain. If one species goes extinct, then its biological prey’s population would increase dramatically since there would be no predators left.  These repeated mass extinctions and growths in sea life populations result in a progressive eradication of all marine species   

But overfishing’s consequences extend far beyond that. Not only are sea creatures injured and killed because of bycatch, but they are in turn dumped back into the ocean by trawlers. Billions of people also rely on fish for protein. Millions of them depend on fishing for their livelihoods. As do a lot of industries; if they all go bankrupt over 60 000 people could lose their jobs and maybe even their housing as well. 

 This is why overfishing has to stop as soon as possible and companies have a huge responsibility in revisiting their production processes. Governments should also be taking way more action on these issues because it is also their planet that is being harmed, if not destroyed. Our planet, thousands of species, thousands of jobs and thousands homes are being threatened by this unacceptable activity. Overfishing needs to stop.

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