29% of the oceans around the world are considered overfished according to Triple Pundit. Although there is the obvious appeal for fishers to catch as many as they can at a time to achieve an immediate payoff, we need to look towards the future. This method of aggressive fishing can cause populations of species to dwindle and go beyond the point where they can replenish themselves, eventually going extinct. Once a species goes extinct, it has a ripple effect on the entire ecosystem, causing the ecosystem to become more susceptible to climatic impacts.
Not only do we have to worry about overfishing the actual species that were trying to catch but also the unintended casualties as well. With bycatch, longline fishing methods intended for Bluefin tuna will ensnare sea turtles, swordfish, birds, dolphins etc. This bycatch will then be thrown back into the ocean dead or tangled.
However, there are “sustainable” ways to fish that ensure populations to be able to reestablish themselves. According to NatGeo Some of these techniques include having certain times of the years off-limits to fish to allow the population to bounce back, as well as having certain areas like coral reefs be off-limits. Other ways are to use hook-line/rod-and-reel fishing that allows you to not have as much bycatch, or to participate in spearfishing and cast nets that allows you to target specific species.
Another option is to have more fisheries that have the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) approval. With this certificate you can say that you participate in hundreds of sustainable friendly improvements to fishing, and 600 more come 2020. These fisheries help the environment by increasing population to endangered species, preventing seabird deaths, bringing back species considered “extinct”, etc. As of 2014 there has been an 11% increase in the purchases of MSC products. Showing an increase in the consumer population to show that they care and support sustainable fishing methods.
Lastly there is option to choose to not eat these endangered species, or less seafood in general. Even to educate ourselves about how our seafood got to our plate and where it’s from is very helpful in making a decision. Whatever your decision is you should keep in mind our impact on a very fragile ecosystem that takes up 71% of this planet. We have an option to halt this destruction in its tracks before it passes the point beyond no return.