Why fish are disappearing

October 9, 2019

With an ocean that covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, it’s hard to imagine creatures that live in a habitat this big are disappearing. One specific example is an animal that most people think is abundant, but their numbers are dropping rapidly: fish. 

There are many factors that contribute to the population drop of fish, ranging from pollution to overfishing. All these problems cause fish to die, and the more fish the ocean loses, the more detrimental it is to our world. 

Overfishing is one of the main reasons fish are disappearing, and it has many negative impacts. Fishing provides many jobs and sources of income for a large number of people, however, when fishing isn’t done responsibly and ethically, the fish population drops and too much fish is harvested. With less fish, there’s less of a chance of making a living off fishing, which is a huge blow to developing countries. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, 97 percent of the world’s fishing force employs people in developing countries and 90 percent of that number are self-employed. With fish disappearing, making a living will become harder and harder for people across the globe. 

Another reason fish numbers are dropping is because of climate change. From 1930 to 2010, the number of fish caught in sustainable catches has decreased by 4.1 percent, according to a study by the journal Science. This is a result of the warming of the ocean. Some countries, especially near Eastern Asia, have seen less fish activity on their coasts thanks to this. Fishermen then suffer, and so does the country’s economy. 

As the fish population lowers, it isn’t only people that are suffering. Other animals in the ocean that live off fish are struggling to eat, and entire ecosystems could collapse if fish numbers continue to drop. A specific example is Pacific Sardines. Their numbers have decreased by 85 percent since 2007, according to earthjustice.org, and predators like sea lions can’t find enough to eat. Sea lions are important in many food chains, and their waste is one of the nutrients that helps phytoplankton grow, which are the primary producer of the ocean’s ecosystems. Sea lion numbers could potentially drop with the lowering number of fish, and it would have a huge effect on ecosystems. 

While lowering fish numbers is a big cause for concern, there are ways to combat it. Inform yourself on what fish suffer the most from overfishing and avoid buying it. Look for a blue Marine Stewardship Council label that confirms that the catch was ethical. Research ways to support groups like the World Wildlife Foundation that fight for change. Help fish out and make Nemo proud. 

 

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