Fishing is taking place at an unmanageable rate. Moneymaking interests and advancement in technology in the industry have contributed to the exploitation of fish stocks. Scientists predicted that some types of fish would become extinct. We can instill responsible fishing practices through fisheries control, government strategies, monitoring, and regulation. Canada has one of the world’s extensive coastlines neighboring the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans and one of the most prominent ocean bodies of any state in the world. The cod industry is almost extinct due to overfishing. For instance, the Grand Bank Cod fisheries of Newfoundland, Canada, had collapsed by 1995 (WWF, 2017). The challenges that fisheries encounter along the east coast of Canada and America are climate change, pollution, overfishing, and illegal fishing.
Water pollution causes the death of marine life. Waste also finds its way to the ocean. Non-bio-degradable materials if not disposed of properly, almost everything we throw away can reach the sea. They may be mistaken for food by the marine animal. A high presence of plastic bags may obstruct the breathing causing death. A study by the US National Research Council, 36% of oil flows down drains and rivers as waste and runoff industries (WWF, 2017). Contamination of the sea with synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, radioactive waste, and fertilizers leads to the death of fish. Some of these substances go in the sea through deliberate discarding. Although dumping of the most toxic materials was banned, we can still experience some of the effects. Toxic metals can enter the food chain and cause health complications to the consumers.
Overfishing is the single biggest threat to ocean life. Illegal fishing has led to depletion of some species of fish. Until lately, the east coast waters of Canada used to be one of the world ultimate fishing grounds due to the excellent conditions of the water (WWF, 2017). The development of plankton in this zone was natural. Once considered an infinite source of food, oceans are now in a crisis. Over the past 50 or so years several of the vast ocean fish have been fished to the point of depletion. Another factor is free foreign fishing. Countries with overseas fishing taskforces like Russia and Japan caught more fish in Canada than the sea could handle (WWF, 2017). Destructive fishing practices where one type of fish such as cod is under target, many different and unwanted types may also be trapped (WWF, 2017)
Climate change affects the life of fish. Factors such as acidic oceans caused by absorption of the large percentage of the carbon dioxide released by human activities. Due to this, oxygen crucial for their life becomes dissolved. Water levels rise due to the release of carbon dioxide hence the fish are forced to move to other regions. For example, in Canada as a result of climate change, there is a poleward relocation of all the fish. Those in the tropics will go to higher spaces to track down their ideal environment. For every degree Celsius warmer, there is a loss of three million tons of fish are from the ocean in relations to the probable fish catch. Previous studies have, “correlated high coral coverage with high fish diversity; therefore, if coral reefs disappear so too does fish diversity” (Waddell, 2015)
Destructive fishing methods was also a problem. National regulations have barred these practices. However, the enticement to make profits is a reason why people still practice the banned methods. One of the most harmful ways is bottom trawling. It is a technique which uses large nets weighed down with heavy ballast which is pulled along the sea bottom or crushing everything in their way. Many types of fish, including those at risk of extermination, are unintentionally caught and then put back into the ocean, mostly dead. These can reach up to 80% or even 90% of the total catch. “Fishing is one of the dominant anthropogenic activities affecting marine ecosystems, and there is global concern about adverse effects particularly bottom trawls on seabed habitats and the structure and functioning of benthic ecosystems” (Eigaard, 2017). Additionally, the nets used for bottom trawling have an opening that leaves scars on the seabed more than 4 kilometers long.
Poor fishing management policies. In numerous states, existing rules and regulations are not adequate to limit fishing volume to a sustainable level. Execution of fishing regulation is still not done even where the rules exist. For instance, many countries have not up till now implemented international guidelines such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Fish Stocks. Fish stock is all fish belonging to the given types that live in a specific topographical part at one particular period, that is, all individuals truly capable of reproducing (Gulland, 2013).
The Newfoundland Grand Banks was once well-known as the world’s most productive fishing lands. The abundance of the Grand Banks was adequate to supply modest local fishing, as well as feed millions. However, this did not last. Technical improvements in fishing methods ruined the Grand Banks. By 1975, the yearly catch had dropped by more than 60 percent. However, the government refused to pay attention owing to personal interests. Eventually, in 1992 the government declared a moratorium on the fishing area. In the USA also between the 1980s and ’90s, many fisheries in were facing closure threats. However, due to the strict fishing regulations put in place, there is a significant improvement in the last decade. Overfishing caused the collapse of the cod industry. Social and economic lives of the people were significantly affected. 40,000 people from Canada lost jobs.
Overfishing brought about the collapse of the cod industry. The cod moratorium caused a lot of social and economic problems. The economy was affected since a large number of people depended heavily on the industry. For example, in Canada, communities that lived along the sea did full-time fishing. Therefore, after the collapse, the government had to intervene with financial aid. The manufacturing industries were closed down. Food security was also under threat. However, the people are now recovering from the loss. Economic diversification is critical to ensure that people can wholly depend on themselves. The authorities should provide a maximum sustainable yield, which is the highest average catch that can be caught from a fish stock under existing environmental conditions on a sustainable basis (Gulland, 2013).
In conclusion, overfishing is a significant threat to the fishing industry. Although there is an effort to tame culture issues such as climate change, pollution, and illegal fishing still need attention. There is an improvement in fish stock over the years due to strict fisheries policies.