The worldwide Blue fin tuna population is down 96% according to a recent Pew Study. Just three months ago a blue fin tuna in Tokyo brought in a ridiculously high record price of $1.76 million at a fish auction in Japan. Things look bleak for fish right now.
Overfishing is killing our seas. The fishing industry is largely unregulated so not only are our blue fin populations being devastated, but so are the unintentional catches of dolphins, sharks, rays, and more. More than 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die every year as a result of being caught in fishing gear and nets.
The root of the issue is that 3 billion people worldwide count on seafood as their primary source of protein, and another 260 million people depend on fish-related sectors for employment. Demand is at an all time high and chances of sustaining this demand are non-existent, no chance at all. Director of Global Tuna Conversation, Amanda Nickson, cautions that the population is “in danger of all but disappearing.”
The biggest change since the 1950’s in commercial fishing is in the technology utilized and the lack of regulation in the mass fishing industry. Schools of fish are now able to be pin-pointed, so ships can venture out much deeper than they had in the past. In addition, the ocean has been treated as an all you can tote buffet of death for fisherman seeking wildlife.
The other downside of venturing out deep in the ocean is that the lost or snagged nets are no longer able to be retrieved, thus trapping innocent creatures getting stuck. Not only are these ghost nets way more prevalent that you would imagine as evidenced by a mere 244 ft vessel bringing in 57 tons of ghost fishing nets off the Hawaiian coast recently, the nets are synthetic so they last for tens of decades.
There is some, albeit small glimmer of hope however. If policies are put in place now for more environmentally friendly mass fishing then the devastation done to worldwide fish populations can potentially recover in the next few decades. The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean and other researchers recently found. The study found that there can be a turnaround with the immediate implementation of sustainable fishing practices, 77 percent of the ocean’s fish populations would have the ability to rebound in the next decade.
To be candid, we believe there to be a better way. Stop eating innocent creatures and allowing big corporations to use the seas to dump and purge as they wish. Until big business is severely punished, or people cease their carnivorous ways the problem will only get worse.