Overfishing has become an increasingly detrimental environmental issue over the past few decades and the practice has created long-term harm to our oceans. According to Wildlife Extra News, “Populations of numerous migratory fish species in the North Atlantic have declined by more than 95 percent, threatening not only food supplies and economic systems, but also the way humans perceive the health of the planet’s ecosystems” (WEN 2009). 95 percent is an alarmingly high number and certain species are in even further decline.
With those numbers in mind, it is important to be aware of possible alternatives to overfishing. To keep certain species from being wiped out all together due to mile length nets catching intended fish species as well as by-catch, some organizations have formulated ways to decrease this harm to ocean ecosystems. Hong Kong issued a Marine Fish Culture Ordinance that allows few specific recreational fishing operations and requires consent forms, contains strict rules, and forbids recreational fisheries from interfering with the culture environment (Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department). Having such rules and restrictions helps to maintain and conserve current operations without the underwater ecosystem taking a further hit.
Other solutions include policy implementation that would prevent fishermen to use trawl nets that are big enough to hold 13 airplanes at the opening. However, this policy implementation would be complicated since it would restrict fishermen’s profits. In that case, some recommend setting stricter regulation and supervision at fisheries to ensure that companies are not cutting corners or farming more fish than permitted. From a consumer perspective, the best solution is to decrease the amount of fish in one’s diet in order to put less stress and demand on the seafood market. This would take a long time, but if enough people reduced the amount of fish they ate, fisheries may not need to se such large nets to catch all sorts of marine species.