The Extent of Industrial Fishing

Only a few species of salt water fish come from a fish farming. Most of the salt water fish are still caught directly on the seas. With the increasing population and their strong demand for cheap meat, the states are moving their fishing to ever more distant regions. With the daily from fishing fleets laid out fishing nets you could span the earth forty (40) times. As more fish get caught as they can reproduce themselves the only thing that remains there is a big emptiness.
Here some background information of today’s most frequent fishing methods and their consequences:

Driftnets stretching up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) are pulled through the seas. These nets catch everything that’s around, if usable or not. All non usable life is called as bycatch and get thrown back in the water – no matter if injured or dead. Not only unusable fish species but also turtles, dolphins, sharks and even sperm whales find their death in those nets.
Just in the Mediterranean Sea approximately 600 Italian ships catch sword fish with driftnets with an average length of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) each. All in a row you could stretch them twice from Gibraltar to Beirut. The bycatch is extremely high: Only 18% of the caught animals are sword fish, the rest are other kind of fish – for instance more than 8’000 dolphins remain dead in the sea each year.

A longline is a synthetic fishing line with a length of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) and is buoyed by plastic floats close to the surface. The line is assembled with thousands of hooks baited with squid, fish or in some cases even with fresh dolphin meat. The baits attract among others also sharks, dolphins, turtles, albatross and other marine birds which get hooked and die when they try to eat the bait. Every year just along the African Atlantic Coast more than seven million sharks and rays die by longline fishing as bycatch. Also more than 34’000 birds and more than 4’000 turtles die every single year only along this coast line.

Worldwide more than 100’000 Albatross die each year just because of the longline fishing. The bycatch of commercial longline fishing for tunas can reach more than 90%. They catch for example 4-5 times more sharks than tunas.

Explosives are placed in the middle of shoals of fish or reefs. The explosions are so strong that all the animals within the explosion area are paralyzed or even killed. Only the dead fish lying on the surface after the explosion will be collected. All the others remain injured or dead in the sea. If something like that happens on land it is called terror attack – under water it’s just another kind of fishing. Although dynamite fishing is prohibited in many areas it is still illegally widespread.

All mentioned fishing methods not only kill unnecessary fish but directly contribute to the extermination of the fish population.
All these fishing methods are comparably with a farmer who doesn’t climb on the tree to pick the apples but cut down the whole tree to get the fruits.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO more than 70% of the fish existence are already overfished. Too many technically upgraded fishing ships on the oceans are in competition with too little fish. Most of the fish don’t get old enough to reproduce themselves any longer.

The next time you consume fish you should now carefully consider how the animal was probably caught and what the consequences of that could be. Even if you are not responsible for the fishing method it still has to concern you. The sentence “but it is already dead, so it doesn’t matter if I eat it or not” is imprudent because demand determines supply and every purchase is a direct reorder from the fishmonger.

With other words: As long as people eat fish, the fishing industry will catch, kill and deliver fish – merciless until the seas are empty!