Ascension : Overfishing with Reel Consequences
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 07.03.2013 (Article Archived on 21.03.2013)
It’s no secret overfishing causes headaches for conservationists worldwide.
Contributed by Kyle Tingler
How serious is the overfishing problem?
secret overfishing causes headaches for conservationists worldwide. Fish populations have been on the decline for
decades now, forcing fishermen to venture further and further into remote and
unregulatedwaters to catch fish.“Statistics show 75% of fish populations
worldwide are currentlyoverfished;80% are already fully exploited or in decline;90%
of all large predatory fish – including tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod and
halibut – are gone (4).”Yet despite evidence of a bleak and fishless future,
overfishing continues throughout much of the world. Think of overfishing as driving
towards a cliff but instead of hitting the brakes, you keep your foot on the
gas. Essentially we are driving towards
an inevitable tipping point where Ascension, St. Helena and the rest of the
world will suffer severe consequences if overfishing continues.“In 2006,
Canadian marine ecologist Boris Worm predicted that all commercial fisheries
will collapse by 2048 if overfishing isn't stopped (3).”
"We are in
the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish (4)."
—PavanSukhdev, UN Environment Programme
But Ascension is safe, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Overfishing is a problem right here at home. Talk to any old timer, someone with 30 years experience
or so fishing these waters, and they will boast about how the fishing used to be. “You used to be able to catch tuna and wahoo
without hardlyleavin’ the pier head. A
shiny hook was all you’d need,” said an expert fisherman. Not true today. Fish populations around Ascension are
declining- and not just larger fish.
Bullseye, cray and other desirablefish are increasingly harder to find.
“A new study conducted by
theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 5 out of
the 8 tuna species are at risk of extinction (5).” Do you want your family to live in a world
I see the problem. What can I do about it?
As islanders, we are especially dependent on seafood for our nutritional needs-i.e.
fishcakes, fish and batter, curries, etc- and thus have much at stake. We need to be proactive to ensure future
generations have the same luxury. Practice
-Take only what you need. Practice catch
and release for anything else
-Be selective in the fish you take and never keep fish too small or visibly
-Cut down on fish consumption; insteadexperiment with newcooking recipes
-Discover hobbies other than fishing
-Push government to enact stricter fishing laws
Fiona. “Overfishing Causes Pacific Blue
fin Tuna levels to Drop 96%.” The Guardian UK (2013) Retrieved from
2. Madslien, Jorn. Davos 2013: “Iceland Slams Europe over
Fishing Policy.” BBC News.” (2013)
Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21206881
3. McLendon, Russell. “Overfishing: Are There Really Plenty of Fish in the Sea?”
(2009) Retrieved from
4. “Threat 1: Overfishing.”Save Our Seas
Foundation. (2013) Retrieved from” http://saveourseas.com/threats/overfishing
5. “The Threats of Overfishing: Consequences at
the Commercial Level. Dartmouth
Undergraduate Journal of Science. (2012) Retrieved from http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/winter-2012/the-threats-of-overfishing-consequences-at-the-commercial-level