How healthy are global fish stocks? Ranked 1 to 10 (1 healthy, 10 is in peril)
-consider ‘health’ to be holistic and not just limited to abundance of the fish themselves
How do you know?
-consider what motivated your answer
What do you think? Share your thoughts and ideas with the class by 11:59 pm Wednesday August 31st, 2022. Use the comment feature on this post to respond (click the ‘leave a comment’ icon to get going).
40 thoughts on “Introductory Assignment- Health of the world’s Fisheries”
On a scale of 1-10, I would consider the health of global fish stocks to be at a 7 (definitely not great). I chose this rating due to understanding how much overfishing has negatively impacted the industry, which has already been observed by several organizations for years at this point.
At the end of 2021, the NOAA released its yearly status of its four hundred and sixty U.S. fish stocks, within which they note that seventy percent of their stocks have a known overfishing status (322 stocks) and that fifty-five percent of their stocks have a known overfished status (252 stocks). Although only much smaller percentages of these stocks are officially considered to be subject to overfishing or overfished, the fact that such a large quantity of stocks are at risk is definitely a cause for concern, even more so when according to the NOAA, ninety percent of the important stocks primarily targeted by fisherman have one of these statuses.
Looking at a larger scope, the Minderoo Foundation’s Global Fishing Index assessed 1,439 stocks around the world, finding that forty-five percent of these stocks have been reduced to less than forty percent of their original population. This index also concluded that no country is currently on their way to becoming more sustainable, citing several shortcomings such as a lack of science-based management, the inability for local fishing communities to help with management, and multiple gaps in knowledge from relevant governing authorities.
Looking at these two examples does not inspire much confidence in the future of the fisheries industry, and not just because fish numbers are dwindling. Overfishing is a known contributor in decreasing biodiversity, which is extremely harmful to the marine ecosystem and the humans who subsist off of this ecosystem. Immediate action would need to be taken to mitigate any further damage to global ecosystems, with the unfortunate fact being that the well-being of the environment is often not of corporate interest.
Links to sources:
I believe that global fish stock health can be rated around a 6, somewhere sliding on the side of declining health, but not too far gone to be reversable on a large scale. Overfishing represents the most direct threat to populations, but it should also be considered that the varied environments that these species are inhabiting are also changing in rapid ways. Numerous other processes that affect the conditions that fish species are living in – acidification, rising temperatures, prey and predator abundance – play roles in the health and availability of fishing stocks that we utilize.
The studies and news on climate change tend to place emphasis on more abstract “large scale” impacts of our changing planet. While those are important to understanding our impacts on our environments, looking at the impacts that climate change has on regional or local levels will be vital in making the decisions that affect specific areas or species stocks. Stocks won’t be able to be accessed (overfished or otherwise) if the conditions that create and sustain those stocks don’t exist in their normal state.
I think it’s harder to make progress on managing and reversing impacts that occur on a level we can’t necessarily see, and the controversies that come with any management plan or concept (especially when you consider them on an international scale) makes it far more difficult to implement decisive action. That’s not to say it’s not worth the exhaustive effort, or that there can never be sound policy on our marine resources but finding common ground on issues affecting a shared resource like fisheries can be a complicated and controversial process.
I feel your last point is of considerable importance and is worth its own discussion. International cooperation, to me, is simultaneously both one of the largest and most difficult factors when it comes to assessing and maintaining global fish stocks. As it stands right now, international fishery laws are still an emerging concept, which has made way for many fisheries worldwide to fall victim to inefficient and non-sustainable practices. It should be noted that regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) do exist for the purpose of overseeing the conservation of fish stocks, although they do not seem to be very conducive to this goal, with the pew research center stating in 2020 that almost 50% of the fisheries in the oversight of RFMOs are experiencing some form of overfishing. These statistics aren’t even able to take into account various illegal fishing operations that are no doubt also contributing to the rapid decline of fish populations and biodiversity. Much work would need to be done in order for the majority of fish stocks to be repaired and maintained, but as you stated, this work would be exhaustive, and the organization and discussion needed to facilitate this work would be, in my opinion, near impossible to orchestrate.
You make a good point about management needing to focus more on local climate changes and smaller scale impact in individualized regions.
For example, shutting down all fisheries in Alaska because one stock is struggling in one region is not the wisest course of action nor in line with the idea of a “just transition”.
I took a fisheries class with Trent Sutton last fall semester where we examined the health of global fish stocks from well into the past to the present. Based on the evidence from the readings and discussions during that class, I conclude that we are somewhere within the 7/8 territory. It may seem extreme to some, but the decline is severe if you look at holistic health and shifting baselines of fish stocks since as early as the 1200s. Size, fecundity, the ability of a fish to reach maturation, population, the number of spawners, and overall health have decreased significantly. Overfishing, exploitation, harmful fishing technologies (trawling, etc.), pollution, and vulnerability of fish stocks have increased.
Overall fish size at least locally here in Alaska has been declining for years, though this is not always focused on, with “health” often being equated only to number of salmon–you make a good point that health is a multi faceted designation.
I’d say that our oceans and fisheries are probably around a 2.5 to a 3. The reason I say this is because of some species being over fished or species like the king salmon that returning numbers are dwindling and not as strong as they used to be. Some other species such as ling cod and some species of rockfish due to over fishing where there numbers got whipped out and due to that have very strict restrictions limits and seasons. However, other species like cod, tuna, and some salmon species are thriving and can be readily harvested. Commercial fishing for salmon in Alaska is a prime example of this.
From my personal experience and from what I’ve read I think fish stocks in general are at about an 8 on that scale. I say this for multiple reasons, one notably being that the king salmon fishery near Sitka, which is usually only open four to six days annually never closed this year because there were no fish anywhere. The fishery is based on an annual quota that is adjusted each year by abundance, and in previous years that quota has always been caught within a week. This year, however, the quota (as of when I left) still hasn’t been caught because no one can find fish anywhere. This is most likely a result of mismanagement of the fishery and damage to the streams the fish depend on. Warmer ocean temperatures such as the warm “blob” in the gulf have also most likely contributed to the decline somewhere along the food chain, like the lower stocks of herring that have been noted in the past few years.
There are other examples of declining stocks that I have personally noticed, such as halibut. One area that my family and I have fished for the last ten years had been massively overfished this year, as we came to find out when places that we normally catch upwards of 40 halibut per set were catching less than ten. There was also very few bycatch fish, such as rockfish and lingcod, which led us to the conclusion that it had been heavily overfished recently. This is more of a local example of diminished stocks but it is a smaller scale version of what is happening at a larger scale all over the world: a good stock is found, exploited until it is almost gone, then people move on to find somewhere else to overfish. Sometimes the stocks recover, sometimes they don’t.
The sablefish (black cod) fishery, which my family also participates in, has also noticed signs of disturbances. This year most people have been catching exceptionally small fish due from the upcoming year class. Part of this issue could be because many boats are switching to pots to fish for them, and pots tend to catch smaller fish. People have only started to switch to pots from hook-and-line in the last three years so it will be something the stock hasn’t really experienced before. The reason for the switch was people were looking for a way to prevent sperm whales from taking their fish, which is a large problem for hook-and-line because the whales can take hundreds of fish off a line and leave you with three (that has happened multiple times). Pots were the best alternative so a lot of people switched to them.
These were just examples I have personally experienced, but there are many others from around the state and the world. The snow crab almost disappearing from the Bering Sea, some species of tuna disappearing to the point they can’t be sustainably be targeted any more, exc. This is why I rated the global stocks as an 8, because there are still some stocks that are fine, but they won’t be for long if things like China’s Black Fleet are allowed to exist. It’s not too late to try to fix the stocks, but something needs to be done soon.
Howdy Rio! It is definitely pretty crazy that in our relatively short lifetimes we are able to see the changes in the fish. Additionally I wanted to acknowledge the last part of what you wrote about, because I think it brings up a really important part of the problem. This being that different countries have different management goals/ fisheries practices. Currently it seems like there is so much hysteria as humans have determined that fish are not an inexhaustible resource, that it is kind of like a race to the last fish. This is a common survival instinct but definitely more unilateral teamwork is needed by all countries that fish to help alleviate overfishing/ pollution stresses on the oceans. This seems to be one of the hardest parts about finding the solution living in such a polarized world.
I would rate the health of global fish stocks out of 1-10 currently at about an 8. There are a slew of factors that contribute to this rating. First the raw number of global fish populations. Overtime overfishing has continued to push fish stocks towards a point where the population will collapse. However, the actual population of the fish stock is not the only indicator that has led to my rating of an 8. You can not assess the health of fish stocks with out taking into consideration the environment in which fish live. Continued pollution through oil spills and general plastic pollution not only has an effect on the abundance of fish in the stock, but on the overall health of the fish within the stock. This is paired with the ever changing environment that has been created by climate change. This combination has wide adverse effects on both the population number and the general health of the global fish stock. Another factor that must be considered would be the ability of the fish stock to recover from its current state. If the global fish stock was facing all the current problems, but was able to recover within a short time span, the health rating would be lower, as these problems would have less of an impact. But because the fish stock would need large amounts of intervention, and a longer time frame to recover the health rates higher.
I would rate the global fish stocks around a 6 out of 10. I say this because I feel that the fish stocks are somewhere in the middle. There are some species of fish that are being overfished and causing those species to fall into peril. But some fish are gaining a big growth and it causes the fish stocks to be healthy. The environment is also a big factor in fish stocks. Depending on the environment the fish stocks may be healthy, or not. For example, in Hawaii, fish stocks are constantly going up and down. This is due to the change in water temperatures and due to the growing tourism. Besides the environment, power and money have an impact on my rating. I say this because I feel that people with power and money use it in the wrong way. I know big fishing companies that overfish certain fish and even collect them at illegal sizes. Quite a few of these big companies constantly fish in illegal waters and illegal ways just to meet their quota. Back in 2020, I attended a conference about huge commercial fishing companies fishing in Hawaii-protected waters. A lot of these people didn’t care about helping the environment or fish stocks. They cared about making money and they didn’t care how they got it. I do believe that as soon as we can protect more areas to allow the growth of species the global fish stocks will incline.
I definitely agree with your statement on how companies will put financial prosperity above all else, even at times going to illegal lengths to obtain this prosperity, such as the example you presented with companies fishing in illegal waters. I feel that government intervention is the best and probably only solution to this problem, as leaving it up to company goodwill will only produce the same results as the ones you pointed out. To that end, it becomes a matter of trying to convince the necessary governmental institutions of the existence of this issue and pressing them on creating policies to combat these violations.
I definitely agree with your statements on how numbers for fisheries constantly are shifting and sometimes it’s a good thing for that change. It allows other species to thrive and potentially make a come back. The shifts in temperatures causes fish to move meaning one place doesn’t get whipped out on baitfish or bottom tiers of the food chain allowing them to stay in a healthy balance.
Hey Tatum, I would agree with your assessment that the global fish stocks are around a 6/10. I think that they are not good, but could be a lot worse, or a lot better. Also, I think it is important that you brought up how power and money affect the fish stock. People who are focused only on money can often overlook the environment, since they are not thinking about overfishing, they are just focused on an income.
After looking into these variables and digging through multiple articles and websites online, I would give the health of fish stocks this year a 6 out of 10. It is certainly not the worst it has ever been or could be, but we are far from sustainability overall.
Fish populations have dropped overall in recent years for several reasons. I found that the more popular species of fish such as salmon, rockfish, and halibut, are far healthier in terms of stock. This is due to the popularity of fish, consumer demand for these good tasting, yet cheap fish. To meet demand more fish must be stocked to be caught. Another Variable I wanted to consider was natural conditions. Fish stocks may rise or decline due to the higher or lower presence of predators and consumer demand. Numbers may also rise and fall due to favorable or poor weather. Higher temperatures can negatively affect growth and development of fish eggs, as well as the spawn time for adults. Because Alaskan waters are usually cold, a high rise in temperature could affect fish populations even if it is only by a small margin. Disease can also play an influential role with certain diseases and parasites having the ability to decimate stocks in a short amount of time. Weather would not have been a problem this year due to the unusually lower temperatures early on. However, a steadily changing climate means that this may not be the case for long.
One of the largest threats is the problem of overfishing that has been prevalent due to customer demand. In the reading material assigned I saw a quote saying that the health benefits of eating farmed fish outweigh the negatives of eating farmed fish even though they may contain PCB. With more people looking for healthier food options, overfishing will continue to rise.
You make a great point at the end, customer demand has reached an all time in the past few years. In the documentary seaspiracy they address how much of an impact humans have on the fishing industry. In the end of the documentary they discuss how one of the easiest ways to stop overharvesting is to stop consuming seafood. But unfortunately it’s not that simple of a solution.
The Earth’s fisheries have not been at their healthiest recently. I feel like a lot of major marine fish populations that have been traditionally utilized as reliable food sources have been completely depleted. Cod and tuna fisheries are close to gone in the North Atlantic. Salmon populations are rapidly declining in the North Pacific and all along the coast of North America. Herring no longer exists in sustainable populations for subsistence fishing from Lake Superior to the seas north of England and the coasts of Norway and Denmark. Since the beginning of greater sea exploration in the fourteenth century, the story of colonization would be better told as the story of sea exploitation. Some of these expeditions from the very beginning are responsible for the overharvest and extinction of species (ex. stellar sea cow). Western society has emphasized overharvest of the fish in the ocean instead of as an important resource that can be depleted. I would give marine fisheries a pretty grim rating of 8 because of the dramatic state that most commercial fisheries seem to be in. I also think that freshwater fisheries seem to be doing slightly better. Freshwater systems, maybe because they are smaller, often seem like they are of a much more manageable scale. At least in the US and Canada seem to care a lot about preventing AIS transmission and dam breaching/where mine’s waste is going seems to be more of a hot topic. but they make up a much smaller percentage so I guess my final score would be ~7.8.
I would say that the health of global fish stocks, on a scale from 1-10, is a 5. A 5 is definitely not a good score but it’s not past the point of no return. My first thought when I read the question was pollution. All over the world, the ocean is becoming more and more polluted. Pollution is connected to rising temperatures, acidification, and animals and ecosystems becoming ‘sick’ and dying. Overfishing is also an essential factor. I feel that a 5 is an accurate rating because there are ways that global fishing has improved but there are still plenty of negatives.
(I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first class that I’ve truly had to think about this, so my answer is just my gut feeling and the little experience I have from living in an ocean-focused place and a considerable fishing community.)
I agree with the fact that the pollution in our oceans is becoming a large issue even globally and something we need to work on to save our oceans and waterways. All of the factors you brought up are big reasons why coral reefs are dying out and messing up the eco systems around them meaning numbers of species on the decline which affects the food chains.
Hey Queenie, I would agree with your rating. It is not a good score, but it could be a lot worse. I am also the same, in that I have never really had to think of this, and just went on what I have experienced.
In order to even begin to answer this question, I had to do a bit of research. I am not a heavily experienced fisher and this is my first class in fisheries, so I did not have any idea of where global fish stocks were before this assignment. Given the overall trend of the environment and wildlife, my hypothesis was that global fish stocks were probably in an unfavorable condition. From my classes in Arctic and Norther Studies and environmental issues, I also know that the oceans are becoming warmer and changing the acidity of the water, thus disrupting the normal function of fish. I am also aware of overfishing to some extent.
After reading the posts above and doing a bit of research, I would rank the global fish stocks at about a 6. I found a lot of mixed messaging when I began the research. A lot of articles stated that fish stocks were “thriving” and “abundant”, while others said that “Half of the world’s assessed fish stocks are overfished and nearly 10 percent are on the point of collapse – threatening not only ocean ecosystems but also the livelihoods and food security of millions of people.” A fact that stood out to me was that, based on current laws and policies around the world, “no country is on track to restore all fish stocks to sustainable levels of abundance in the next decade.”
A lot of sources stated overfishing and climate change to be the main stressors on fish habitats around the world (overfishing was stressed significantly more than climate change, but both were mentioned frequently). In addition, policy was a major reason for the global fish stock crisis.
Another factor I read about that effects overfishing and fish populations was discards. Discards are fish that fishermen catch and throw back into the water because they are not the specific type of fish that they are looking for. They might be too small, the wrong type of fish or damaged. These fish are thrown back into the ocean and oftentimes have a very low chance of survival. This effects the statistics that we use because the only fish brought back to the land are included in the data and computed statistics that are shared. This is an area and factor that I never would have considered or thought about.
I also read that only 7.7% of the entire ocean is protected. I would have guessed that it would be higher, but found it interesting to think about how small this amount is. I think it has important implications for the future of global fish stocks.
On a scale of 1-10 I would say the health of global fish stocks is a 6/10. My first thing to say is how the ocean temperatures are getting warmer and potential diseases the fish get in the ocean.
I subsistence fish on the Kuskokwim River in Bethel, Alaska and our fish numbers are declining and just last year me and my family spotted some salmon hearts that had lesions.
I spent a couple weeks on the Yukon River doing a Icthyophonus sampling project. I am mentioning the Yukon River because there fishery has been closed for the last 2 years if I am not mistaking. Icthyophonus is the thing they think that are killing the Chinook salmon on the Yukon en route to the spawning grounds in Canada. It was so sad to see how desolated the Yukon River was, from hearing how residents would reside at their fish camps all summer to not eating fish and not being able to fish.
I don’t know too much about global fish stock but if it’s anything like the Alaskan fish stock then I’d say it’s not so healthy. I rate it about a 7.8. From personal experience and from what I’ve grown up hearing, the fish and their returns we see now is not the same as Alaska used to get. Salmon themselves are smaller, and in some cases populations are dropping dramatically.
This summer I had the opportunity to assist on a Chinook sampling project on the Yukon River at Rapids Research Camp [between Tanana and Rampart]. I stayed at Stan Zuray’s fish camp. He’s been subsitantly relying on the Yukon as a way of life since 1970-1980 ish. To hear him talk about the way things “use to be” was a reality check for me. He has such passion for his way of life and over the last 60+ years he’s watched it diminish. He talked of how he wanted to see his son provide for his family as he got too; but that’s not going to happen with the way things are going on the Yukon. He had to kill off his dog team because there weren’t enough chum salmon to support them. He released some of his data onto his facebook which demonstrated how significant the king salmon and chum salmon are failing on the Yukon River. He states in his post “Fishing for King and chum salmon which is what makes up almost all of the peoples food here is shut down completely for the second year in a row. Almost all of the camps are empty of people. A few like me are just fishing small nets (legal gear) for whitefish to keep our few dogs left alive. The devastation to the way of life and people of the river is unimaginable here. We have gone from a healthy run of Chinook salmon of possibly 400,000 large sized fish to a final sonar count at the mouth today of 43,000 much smaller fish. This looks to be the worst recorded run of Chinook ever on the Yukon. A major source of people’s food is no more.” The day I flew out to Tanana, June 28 2022, Fish and Game and Fish and Wildlife shut down subsistence fishing for King Salmon on the Yukon River [Commercial fishing and sport fishing had already been shut down prior to this]. It was powerful to see the effect of this decision in the Tanana community. Subsistence really is a lifestyle and it’s damaging when your lifestyle is restricted. This is all due to the health of the salmon. In conclusion, it’s failing.
Here’s Stan’s Facebook if anyone wants to read his full post: https://www.facebook.com/stanzuray
I’ve attached a link to Dan O’Neill’s The Fall of the Yukon Kings which Stan linked in his facebook post: http://rapidsresearch.com/The_Fall_of_the_Yukon_King.pdf
Howdy Gwen! I also had some experiences this summer, meeting people that live/homestead on the Yukon River that are just completely unable to rely upon salmon as a food source any more. I think one of the craziest aspects of how fish populations are currently changing is how quickly they are doing so. Entire populations of people were literally able to live off of fish as a main food source even just a couple years ago. Now communities that used to rely on fish (for example salmon on the Yukon), their whole entire culture is changing around where they get their food/ how they live.
It is so cool that we did the same work this summer! Talking with Stan Zuray and Charlie Campbell about the Yukon Fishery and how they subsistence fished the river since the late 70’s was a really good conversation. With their personal experiences and how they described the fishery as a “really good” fishery to now a basically closed fishery for 3 years if I am not mistaking. It was pretty sad to see how desolated the Yukon River was when I was up there. I was told a lot of people would usually live in their fish camps all summer to get their food they need for the long winter months. I can’t imagine living there with no fishing because a lot of people depend on salmon as a primary source of food.
It can be difficult to assign a rating to the health of global fish stocks, given that each fishery has a varying history, with some being considered much healthier than others. As a general trend, I would say that global fish stocks have historically been much more robust than they are today – causing me to assign them a 6 on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the healthiest and 10 being in peril. Broadly speaking, fish stocks have historically been overfished and heavily harvested, either without effective management or concern and awareness for the depletion of the resource. Over time, it seems that we are catching onto to the fact that this valuable resource is not one to continue to exploit, but rather seek ways in which to protect, maintain, and establish healthier, more abundant fish stocks. Overfishing seems to be the conclusive factor when determining the overall health of our global fisheries resources. When also considering fluctuations in our world’s climates and ecosystems, it seems undeniable that negative changes in these areas will subsequently impact the health of marine life. Phenomenon’s such as ocean acidification and ozone depletion are becoming increasingly acknowledged and should be considered when examining the viability of our globe’s fisheries resources.
When I think of an example of seemingly healthy fish stocks, I can’t help but zone in on Alaska. In Alaska’s salmon fisheries, for one example, fish escapement goals are a huge part of what drives decisions in fisheries management. Allowing a certain amount of fish to escape harvest practices, in order to continue their life cycle, thereby perpetuating the abundance of these fish populations is essential. This is an example of a fishery that continues to thrive and can largely be credited to sustainable fisheries management practices.
When considering global fish stocks there are several different factors that contribute to the different fish species. Such as pollution, commercial fishing, by-catch, and changes to their environment. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being peril I would rank the global fish stock at a 6 or 7. Fish stocks are constantly overexploited and the amount of stocks being overexploited have doubled since the 1980s (Ritchie and Roser 2021). I chose to rank it at a 6 or 7 because there are some fish stocks that are recovering from being overexploited but a lot have not. I have taken classes throughout the past years and have seen a continuous trend for fish stocks. In one article they discussed how “half the world’s assessed fish stocks are overfished and nearly 10% are on the point of collapse” (Jackson 2021). I have also experienced this as well in my own life when it comes to salmon and halibut fishing this year. There are organizations and companies that are working toward rebuilding collapsed fish stocks, but they have had little impact on global status.
I would put the health of the global fish stocks at a 7. Fish stocks are being overfished in many areas, and have caused a large decline in global fish stocks. Since the fish are being caught at a faster rate than they can reproduce, the global fish stocks are not healthy. Another reason that the fish stocks are unhealthy is due to the destruction of marine habitats. I read an article that discussed the destruction of habitats, and pollution from agricultural runoff. Both of these cause the global fish stock to suffer.
Agricultural runoff is a big issue because it can cause large algae blooms. In the article I found it said these blooms can cause “outbreaks of life-threatening disease, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning….” The bacteria in these blooms use up most of oxygen in the water and deplete other resources as well.
I would consider the health of global fish stocks to be around a 7, there has been widespread overfishing and pollution with little action to correct it. Attempts to clean the excessive waste and oils that spew into our oceans have pushed on slowly, following the increasing acidity levels as well as the decreasing oxygen levels. I know more about local level fish stock health as I come from a state currently experiencing the consequences of previous actions. Idaho once thrived on salmon runs although has now reached a point where Chum, Pink, and Coho salmon are extinct with the Sockeyes, following within the next ten years. Smaller ecosystems that sustain our rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds are an essential key when viewing the large picture. On a smaller scale, the deceased salmon reintroduce nutrients into the local vegetation providing sustainability for both herbivores and carnivores alike. The local effects branch into the ocean as we see species such as the Southern Resident Orcas quickly deplete due to the lack of their main food source. Our altering of rivers due to creating reservoirs and building dams has caused the water temperature in the Snake River to increase around 2 degrees Fahrenheit since construction 60 years ago, and the acidic rise and PH decrease have become large parts of the lack of salmons returning to their spawning points. The local tribes are facing ignorance of essential treaties and rural communities lose the economical value from the runs via fishing and tourism. There is not only a negative impact on the ecosystems, and fish stocks, but also on the communities where salmon surround their lives and history. As the local stocks deplete it sets an example for what we can expect on a global scale.
You mentioned many reasons why the health of our fish stocks is declining such as ph levels, oxygen levels, pollution, human activity, and nutrient changes; additional consequences include threats to indigenous communities and small towns reliant on these affected stocks for food and livelihood. Have you thought about possible remedies for these issues and do you believe recovery is possible for both the fish stocks and affected communities?
Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the salmon runs in Idaho. It is very interesting and concerning to me, especially because fisheries knowledge is relatively new to me and it’s terrible to hear the drastic changes from classmates’ personal experiences.
I would say out of 1-10 for the global fish market it’s about an 8. I would say the biggest issue is over fishing. I know this because when people over fish it can affect how the fish reproduce. Over fishing can also impact other marine life.
I would agree that overfishing is a significant contributor to the rapidly declining health of global fish stocks. One thing that has been brought to my attention in other fisheries classes is the ongoing debate over the definition of “overfished”. What are the parameters and conditions you consider necessary for a stock to be deemed as overfished/overexploited?
I would agree with you on this, as hard as it is to say over fishing really is a contributor. This is what happened on the Kuskokwim River in Bethel. From a really unrestricted all species fishery to a heavily restricted fishery. The gear type is also heavily restricted, subsistence users were able to use any mesh sized nets and now we only use 6 inch or less mesh size. We had a really big commercial fishery and for the last 6 years the Kuskokwim River has been closed for commercial fishing.
Our global fish stocks are about a 7, and the reason I feel this is because of the combination of habitat destruction and overfishing. With the impact of human society on our world, it will never be a ‘one-cause only’ problem. There are always multiple aspects with what will impact, positively or negatively, fish stocks.
I agree that there are always multiple aspects that would impact this positively or negatively with the fish stocks. I also think it varies depending on location too.
I would rate the global fish stocks around a 6 out of 1-10, because we are not doing the best, but we are not too far gone with the damage we have done to perish them forever. We certainly overfish numerous species of fish for sport, or just because it is a way of life, or for the better of the economy. If more people truly cared about the ocean and the environment and what was in it, versus the profit of things that inhabit it, then we would be much better off. I also think the score I gave was due to looking at how healthy our waters our due to climate change, oil spills, etc. If we rated certain areas of the world versus all together the numbers could be different due to know the certain areas of the world treat their ocean, and environment.
On a scale of 1-10, I would rank the health of global fish stocks to be a 6. Overfishing is definitely becoming more common, but apart from the lack of abundance –there’s increasing overpopulation so there are more societies that have always been pescatarian or (fish-only/fish heavy diets). Moreover, with climate change increasing –there is rising sea levels so more fish are dying from unnatural natural causes (human caused climate change). The health of global fish stocks are not critically low that we have to stop fishing right now, but we are definitely at least 20-30 years away from critical consumption. With many different sources of water being polluted daily, the stock is slowly but clearly getting worse –which not only hurts societies who predominantly consume fish but are getting them closer to danger as that is their primary source of nutrition in certain places.