How does overfishing happen?
The causes of overfishing can be placed into these three categories:
All over the world, many fishing industries have huge vessels, equipment and technology that they can deploy deep into the oceans. They can stay on the oceans for weeks and months and even process the fish before they come back ashore. Experts believe that all the world’s equipment combined is enough to fish on 4 earth-like planets.
This involves using nets, fishing methods and other equipment that catch too much fish to a degree that they are endangered. It also involves catching other sea animals other than fish in the process. These are called By-catch. In many cases by-catch is destroyed and thrown back into the sea. This is called Discards, and may include cetaceans, turtles, sharks, seabirds, youngfish, corals and invertebrates like starfish, crabs, sea urchins, brittle stars, mollusks, sponges and worms. They also catch very little fishes and prevent them from growing to reproduce.
Some fishing methods like Bottom Trawling are know to catch all kinds of fish and animals, with the bulk of it discarded.
Economic and Food Needs:
The amount of fishes that fishing industries bring ashore depends on the market and needs of consumers. In the past century, humans have multiplied in many folds and the need for food and fish has also multiplied. This, together with economic ambitions of fisheries have forced them to catch more fish that the oceans can replace.
Now, let us quickly take a look at some very important terms before we go further in the problems that overfishing causes.