Overfishing Research Paper

Topics: Fish, Ocean, Overfishing Pages: 6 (2177 words) Published: October 11, 2007
Muizenberg Beach, located about 25 kilometers south of Cape Town, South Africa, is an expansive, white beach with bright blue water and mountains in the background. The shore is gently sloping, with flat, hard sand and moderate waves. Muizenberg Beach is one of the most breathtaking places in all of South Africa. However, here, paradise is not always guaranteed and can disappear in a moment. Recently, a young lifeguard was violently attacked a great white shark. Achmat Hassiem, a 24 year-old lifeguard was watching his brother swim in the water when he saw a great white shark swim towards him. Hassiem courageously sprinted into the water, trying to get the shark's attention. The 13-foot shark quickly turned around, swam towards Hassiem, bit into him, pulled him underwater, and savagely bit his foot off (Calvert). This kind of incident is not the only occurrence where a shark has attacked someone. In fact, these incidents have been happening all around the world. Paul Botha, a long-time surfer believes overfishing is the factor that is causing sharks to attack humans because it deprives sharks of food. However, shark attacks are only one problem that overfishing creates. One of the additional problems caused by overfishing is diminished food supply for animals and humans. This hurts the marine ecosystem of oceans and seas all around the globe, which in turn directly impacts human nutrition. Overfishing has increased greatly over the past decade (Nuttal 1). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, "over 70% of the world's fish species are either fully exploited or depleted" (Nuttal 1). This problem will continue if people around the world do not change their ways soon to prevent extinction of all of the fish in our planet's waters. Overfishing of the world's oceans is rapidly destroying sea life, all of which act as renewable natural resources. As a result, the destruction of such natural resources negatively impacts the quality of human life as well as affecting the ocean's entire ecosystem. Overfishing is when fish of a certain body of water has been fished to its maximum. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines overfishing as, "a rate or level of fishing mortality that jeopardizes the capacity of a fishery to produce the maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis" (Hogarth 2). When fish stocks are reduced to its minimum. Only until recently has overfishing been a known problem in the world. About 60% of the world's 200 most commercially valuable fish species are either overfished or fished to the limit. Most fish produce huge numbers to help cope with high natural mortality rates. However, overfishing has risen so much, the amount of fish eggs a fish produces does not help the cause (MacKay, Strickler 2). Cornelia Dean stated in her New York Times article that, "If fishing around the world continues at its present pace, more and more species will vanish, marine ecosystems will unravel and there will be ''global collapse'' of all species currently fished, possibly as soon as midcentury, fisheries experts and ecologists are predicting" (Dean 2). For example, Jose Testaverde, his father Salvatore, and Salvatore's Sicilian father trawled the Northeastern waters for around 80 years. Salvatore has memories of catching 5,000 pounds of cod in Massachusetts in only one hour. Today, Jose occasionally is able to catch 2,000 of mid-sized cod in eight hours of hard trawling. Other than cod, Jose will catch hake, whiting, spiny dogfish, skate, or what his father would call "trash" fish (Satchell 1). People all around the world are experiencing what the Testaverde family experienced. Families, towns, and companies all across the globe are victims of overfishing. If nothing is done to prevent overfishing, there will be massive consequences. If current trends continue, "100% of [fished] species will collapse by the year 2048," says marine biologist Boris Worm (Cone...

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