Declining Fish Stock: over-Fishing the World’s Oceans
The world’s oceanic large fish populations are disappearing at an alarming rate and extinction is a growing concern. An estimated 90% are already gone and the situation will continue to get worse if drastic measures are not taken (University of Phoenix, 2007). Even though the fishing industry will suffer, conservation methods should be developed and enforced soon because large fish populations are endangered and their habitats are being destroyed. Various netting techniques not only deplete fish populations, but also destroy habitats for many of the ocean’s species including plants and animals.
Growing world populations and commercial fishing have placed an overwhelming demand on the oceans. Drastic steps should be taken soon to allow fish populations to regenerate and to sustain the numbers necessary to maintain the oceans’ natural balance, and to feed the world’s growing human population. Steps should include conservation methods enforced by the United States (U. S. ) government, development of massive fish farms, and cooperation from other countries world-wide. Implementation of such measures will require active efforts from several organizations.
According to Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the damage to the ocean is almost complete but can be reversed (Wiley, 2000-2009). In an effort to bring this issue to the forefront and gain support, a plan must be devised and presented to key groups. In developing the plan, certain action items must be developed and completed prior to presentation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The NOAA and EPA are strong influences on governmental policy and the public.
Action Item One Within nine months, research regarding the effects of over-fishing large fish populations in the world’s oceans will be conducted. Endangered species and habitats will be identified. Research facts and concerns regarding the current impact on the environment and effects of the continuation of practices will be documented. Commercial fishing techniques and their impact on fish populations and habitats will be outlined, along with other statists related to marketplace demands and commercial fishing industry economics.
Research will also include conservation and sustainment statistics and other information to support new and innovative ideas regarding fish farming. Environmental issues related to fish farming will also be identified and addressed. Locations for fish farms and the resources needed will be detailed along with funding issues. Fishing industries and human populations that will be most impacted by the plan will also be identified. Action Item Two Within three months following the completion of the research portion of the plan, a presentation will be developed.
The presentation will include the purpose of the presentation and the urgent need for action will be explained. The purpose of the presentation is to urge the NOAA and EPA to develop and implement the Healthy Oceans Act to improve and sustain the oceans. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “A Healthy Oceans Act would provide a national vision for protecting, maintaining and restoring oceans while encouraging the development and implementation of local ocean plans”, (para. 10, n. d. ).
Continuation of current practices and the lack of conservation efforts will result in devastating consequences. Industry changes will be addressed along with a plan for displaced workers. As part of the plan for fish farming, fisherman can be educated and relocated to areas where fish farms are developed and maintained. Fish farms will aid in marine repopulation efforts, provide jobs for displaced fishermen, and provide an alternative food source. Arnold (2009) states, “Some scientists say the answer is a massive growth of fish farming — a so-called “blue revolution” to help feed the planet” (para 2).
Action Item Three In tandem with action item two, this action item will also be conducted due to the length of time it will take to pull together the target audience for viewing of the presentation and will be ongoing up to the scheduled date. The target audience includes key individuals from the NOAA, EPA, and various other environmental organizations in the U. S. These organizations are influential in Oceanic environmental issues, have much influence in local and global policies, and have far-reaching educational programs already in place. Action Item Four
In month nine or when the date is set with NOAA and the EPA, informational packets and invitations will be created and distributed to key environmentalists to persuade them to attend. Names of key environmentalists will be identified and invitations sent through month 12. The addition of key individuals will serve two purposes. The first purpose is that they will bring to the meeting their experiences with local issues, financial concerns, and objections. The second reason is that they will be able to contribute their own ideas of how the implement the plan and what will work best in their areas.
Action Item Five Prior to the meeting date, attendance and the location of the meeting will be confirmed. Reminders will be sent to all attendees along with pertinent information. Equipment will be assessed and the presentation completed. Objections to the plan will be anticipated and addressed in a question and answer session. Perception of the Plan and Effects The plan will include specific recommendations for placing at least 40% of the oceans off limits for the next 15 years (Natural Resources Defense Council, n. d. ). After 15 years the off limits zones will decrease to 30% and be maintained indefinitely.
Environmentalists will see the necessity of the plan based upon the decreasing fish populations and degradation of habitats for other marine plants and animals. They will also be concerned about pollution generated by fish farms. Innovative ideas regarding the reduction of pollution will be presented. Commercial fishermen will be hurt the most and objections from industry fishermen will be strong. Fishermen have spent their lives fishing and with that in mind, opportunities for training, funding, and employment will be made available.
Other Problems Caused by Commercial Fishing Commercial fisherman cause other problems to the marine populations by the way they catch fish. They catch many other animals unintentionally in their nets called “bycatch” (University of Phoenix, 2007). Additionally, they destroy many habitats by net-dragging and contribute to water pollution during their processes. Laws should be developed and enforced regarding bycatch and what should be done with the unintentional catch before they are destroyed in the process. Community Effects
The creation of underwater parks or fish farms will create more jobs in coastal communities and for displaced fishermen. Lifestyles changes will affect fishermen the most and perhaps they will realize a financial loss on expensive equipment. Additionally, many of the areas where their fishing has been successful will be made off limits which will also cause financial losses.?
University of Phoenix. (2007). Declining Fish Stock VLR. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from University of Phoenix, Week Six, SCI/275 – Water Resource Plan.
John Wiley ; Sons, Inc. (2000-2009). Visualizing Environmental Science, Chapter 11. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from University of Phoenix, Week Six, SCI/275 – Water Resource Plan. Arnold, Chris. (2009). Feeding the World with Deep-Sea Fish Farms. NPR. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=5291579
Natural Resources Defense Council. (n. d. ). Reviving Our Oceans. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from http://www. nrdc. org/water/oceans/policy. asp