Fishing Gets Fishy: A Rundown Of Global Fishing Practices
Have you ever wondered from where your fish come? We see them on the streets or at the market, and it’s easy enough to find them online, but who gets them? The answer to this: a fisherman.
While it’s great to imagine a fisherman making his dues, it’s harder to stomach your tuna when you find out the harsh truth. As it goes, smaller fishermen are routinely pushed to the bottom of the food chain by bigger corporations.
But, there's more to the fishing industry than corporations ruining human life. Here’s a very comprehensive look into the basics of the fishy fishing industry.
Whether you're growing coffee or fishing, there’s a massive environmental impact. Practices such as bottom trawling, the use of longlines, the myth of 'fish-safe cans' and more have ruined the delicate balance in our oceans.
Let’s take bottom trawling as an example. Trawling involves dragging massive fishing nets across the seabed to capture fish, later sold in markets. How does this damage environmental balance, which already hangs by a thread?
Well, the nets are essentially raking the sea bed. They’re upsetting the animals and insects that live there and entirely uprooting the plants that provide food sources to those animals.
Some of these plants, called phytoplankton, float in the sea, absorbing nutrients and producing oxygen. Dolphins and whales fertilise these plants, so when you hunt these animals, you’re also minimising the number of phytoplankton that get fertilised. These tiny plants absorb 4 times the amount of carbon dioxide that the Amazon rainforest does. They also generate up to 85% of the oxygen we breathe!
It’s easy to forget how integral the ocean is to our survival. We don’t just eat the fish; we survive because of the ocean. So, when cove killings, dolphin killings, salmon farming, and longline fishing hurt the ecosystem in our oceans - we are killing the earth at a much faster rate.
The entire marine ecosystem regulates our climate by absorbing up to 30% of all global emissions. So, when turtles, dolphins, salmon, and tiny plants in the ocean are disturbed - we are essentially making sure our atmosphere can’t be cleaned.
Impact on Morality
So, if the ocean is that important to climate change, why isn’t anybody doing anything to stop the unjust fishing practices?
Well, here is where immorality comes in. There have been several authoritative bodies set up to monitor fishing practices, one of which is the Marine Stewardship Council. It’s supposed to be an independent, non-profitable authority body that advocates and enforces sustainable fishing practices. One of the main founders of this council is Unilever Corporation, a major seafood retailer that profits off of unjust fishing practices.
Another example is OCEANA, the world’s largest marine conversation group. While they have a campaign for responsible fishing, they haven’t described the campaign, its impacts, or practices in detail.
Things take a darker turn when you look into the government officials. Most marine observers, people sent aboard ships to ensure safe, responsible, and sustainable fishing practices are found dead. The case of Keith Davis is just one example.
Africa is still feeling the brunt of its former colonial masters. Europe continues to practically loot Africa through their fishing practices. Overfishing and illegal practices led to a $2 billion loss for the country as reported in 2017.
There’s so much more to the vile world of fishing. With corrupt authorities, unlawful practices, and illegal fishing, there's a cesspool of darkness to wade through.
Written by Varenya Prasad
and Aadit Rajeshkumar
Edited by Arul Pandit