Why legal fishing is an endangered industry
Unscrupulous operators taking advantage of lax regulations are making overfishing a global problem that's only getting worse.
Sadly, these are just two of the many signs of overfishing, a problem that has become a global disaster.
According to Quartz, illegal fishing is a $10 billion to $23.5 billion annual industry. As these operations exhaust stocks of local fish, legal fishermen are being forced to venture farther from home, which drives up their costs and eats away at their profits. The implications are no less dire for the environment.
"A study of catch data published in 2006 in the journal Science grimly predicted that if fishing rates continue apace, all the world's fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048," according to National Geographic.
One problem is lax oversight. Many ships today operate under foreign flags to evade strict environmental and labor laws. As Quartz noted, 56% of the world's merchant vessels operate under the flags of Panama, Liberia, Malta and the Marshall Islands, countries that combined account for 0.12% of the world's population. Bolivia and Mongolia, which have no coastlines, have also gotten into the lucrative flag of convenience (FOC) business, the site reported.
Some countries, such as China, also appear to be lying to international bodies responsible for monitoring fish stocks about the extent of their fishing. Researchers have estimated that Chinese boats are catching more than 12 times what they're reporting. European countries are part of the problem as well because of their use of FOCs, especially Spain.
"To evade enforcement, flag-hopping vessels participate in 'transshipping' or transferring illegal catches to other boats known as 'reefers,'" Quartz said. "Reefer vessels have vast refrigerators in which they can store huge caches of fish for long periods between ports."
Like anything else, the problem of overfishing -- no matter how self-destructive the practice is in the long run -- won't be solved as long as so many people can easily make money from it in the short run.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
Here in Utah, the worst over-fishing offenders are the Polygamists. They'll all bring their massive families--one man, 4 or 5 wives, and innumerable children--and fish the rivers completely bare. We have watched them pull dozens out of the North Fork of the Duchesne in the Iron Mine area near Hanna, UT; and one cabin owner along the river says he has counted on several occasions 150 or more fish taken by a family in one afternoon. They use powerbait, and they often fail to supervise their numerous children, which results in lots of tangled line in the small dams in the area. Many fish end up entangled in the line, and die. The forest service plants rainbow trout several time throughout the season, but the whole plant can disappear in the matter of a weekend. The cops have been called, but, as the cabin owner stated, "There is no law up in these parts." And, thanks to our former Attorney General, who proclaimed that he would not prosecute Polygamists, they are more brazen than ever. Funny, for such a gun-stockpiling, paranoic, anti-government group, they sure like to eat up all of the government's fish and medicaid and food benefits. They're a plague upon Utah.
What we need is another World War or world wide plague to kill off 3 to 4 billion people. There isn't enough food or fresh water in this world to support our booming population. Wipe out most of the fish eating market (people) then overfishing will stop. If this doesn't happen then we'll have a critical water or food shortage within 20 years anyway and we'll fight over that!
We kill our oceans, it's game over for all life on Earth.
The oceans are the lungs of our planet, supplying us with most of our breathable oxygen.
Our oceans are on pace to die. ALL due to mankind's pollution.
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