Research Essay – Final Draft
October 22, 2013
Hook, Line, and Sinker: The Effect of Commercial Fishing on the Marine Ecosystem
Every day, millions of people around the globe rely on fish and other aquatic species as their number one source of protein. Fishing has become one of the most profitable businesses in the world, and provides millions of people with a continual food source. Along with its success, commercial fishing at its very core, has wreaked havoc on the marine ecosystem. Commercial fishing has contributed greatly to the decline of many species, and constant environmental degradation.
Marine ecologists have suggested that the largest threat to the marine ecosystem today is overfishing (DUJS). Overfishing is a result of harvesting fish faster than the rate at which they can reproduce (DUJS). Overfishing has greatly impacted the survival of many different species whether targeted or not. Under the surface of the water there is a predator versus prey ecosystem that too often is impacted by overfishing. Prey species dwindle in numbers causing a waterfall effect in which predator species begin to search for other food source they normally would not. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) have reported that over 70 percent of the world fish populations are either fully exploited or significantly depleted (DUJS, Nuttall). During the last decade cod, haddock, and flounder have seen as much as a 95 percent reduction rate in population (Nuttall).
One major contribution to the advanced overfishing rates is introduction of new technologies to the fishing industry (Heppell). Several species of long-lived, deep sea fishes are now beginning to suffer from overfishing thanks to new technologies the fishing industries are employing. These innovative technologies allow vessels with tracking systems to reach these species they normally could not have 40 years ago. These vessels are also equipped with sophisticated...
Cited: 1. The Threats of Overfishing: Consequences at the Commercial Level. Dartmouth University Journal of Science. 11 March, 2012. Web. 23 September 2013. http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/winter-2012/the-threats-of-overfishing-consequences-at-the-commercial-level
2. Nuttall, Nick. Overfishing: A Threat to Marine Biodiversity. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyID=800
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4. Lazaroff, Cat. Destructive Fishing Causing Ocean Crisis. Environmental News Science. 19 Feb. 2003. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0219-03.htm
5. Heppel, Selina. Long Lived Deep Sea Fishes Imperiled by Technology, Overfishing. 18 Feb. 2007. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-02/osu-ldf021307.php
6. Jha, Alok. Shark Species Face Extinction amid Overfishing and Appetite for Fins. The Guardian. 17 Feb. 2008. Web. 23 Sept 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/feb/18/conservation.aaas
7. Dayton, Paul K, Thrush, Simon, and Coleman, Felicia C. Ecological Effects of Fishing. Web. 26 Sep 2013. http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Protecting_ocean_life/environment_pew_oceans_effects_fishing.pdf
8. Agardy, Tundi. Viewpoint: Effects of Fisheries on Marine Ecosystems: A Conservationist’s Perspective. 2000. Web. 26 Sep 2013. http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/3/761.full.pdf
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