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Over fishing in Third world

Many people are today propelled by commercial interests that brings short term profits but are oblivious of the long term effects that result due to their actions and that is how fishing for commercial reasons in the third world countries has led to the depletion of fish stock in the big seas. It is not only over fishing that is leading to depletion or reduction of fish stock in the seas, there are also other factors that are equally responsible for the same such as water pollution and wasteful fishing methods something that leads to death of fish species in millions.

Fish is one of the commodities that is very lucrative for export purposes and has been one of the key sources of revenue to these nations something that is making these nations to increase their exports day by day by an ever increasing percentage. “Fish has now become one of the developing world’s chief food exports with many countries exporting an increasing percentage of their catch. ” (Madeley, 151). In 1977, fish exports from developing countries were over 29000 million US Dollars.

What this meant was that fish product was one of the main exports to these nations. Most of fishes that are caught end up in developed nations are for commercial purpose and thus it is hard for the locals to enjoy their resources at low cost. Some fish species are deemed to be highly nutritious and thus are purely meant for export but not to be consumed locally. Over fishing in the seas of western countries is very acute due to increased fish demand from their own population and export demands.

Population increase in most third world countries has forced them to explore various alternatives and one of these alternatives is fishing. These countries have forsaken food crop production mostly because of unfavorable environmental conditions to be able to feed their big population. Available statistics show that like in the last thirty years, the demand for fish products has doubled. Fish catching from mid 80s has significantly increased leading to overexploitation of fish stocks in the seas.

“World fish consumption has leapt from 45 million tons in 1973 to more than 91 million tons in 1997. It is cited that rapid growth of population coupled by high individual demand for fish has contributed to over fishing. The graph below shows the trend in fish production for food production both in developing and developed nations since 1973 up to 2020. (Kirby A. 2003) Other factors as earlier mentioned apart from over fishing contribute to over exploitation of fish resources in the developing nations.

Many of these nation in their bid to increase their fish production use methods that sometimes are wasteful and as a result, millions of fish species end up being destroyed posing a big food security threat. Fishes are caught in thousands by traps that leave many of them dead or almost dying, it is like they are sweeping the ground and thus even immature small fish are caught and because it takes time to sort them out, many of them that ought to have been returned to the ocean die.

If those fish were returned, they would have been ‘tomorrow’s’ stock. Some of these wasteful methods are like shrimp trawl that is mostly used in tropical waters. Here many unwanted fishes are caught are o late known as trash fish and since they are unwanted they are either returned to the seas when it is too late for them to survive or when they are already dead. It is estimated that in Bangladesh, trash fish amounting to 400,000 tons go to waste due to poor fishing techniques and yet many people suffer from malnutrition and starvation.

“Removal from ecosystem in such massive quantities is harming local fisheries and undermining the ability of local people who have little in the first place to feed themselves. ” (Greenpeace International) It has also been a strategy of the developed nations to give subsidy to third world countries so that they would increase their output and hence more exports and this also leads to over fishing. Developed nations being capitalistic in nature, they are only interested in maximizing their profit but are not concerned about the ecological ramifications of their actions.

It is this reason that has led to intensification of fishing and in most cases leading to depletion of fish stock in seas. (Mann, 2004) According to the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) and Educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO), fish is rich in protein and for this reason it is consumed as a diet by at least 2/3 of the world’s population but of late fishing has turned to be a commercial thing and now it is no longer a poor man’s diet as it used to be.

According to the same report, citizens of developing nations consume about twenty six kilograms of fisheries per year while it is estimated that those in developing nations it is only nine kilograms per person annually are consumed. It might not be a threat to people with various dietary alternatives but those who solely depend on it, uncertainty in fish supply is something of big concern to them. The problem becomes bigger if this is happening to people who live in the margins of existence and whose main diet is fish.

(Johnston D. M. , 1987) Over fishing has now risen to the levels of concern and various governments has woken up to the fact that it is a serious problem that is resulting to global food insecurity while at the same time destroying the ecosystem. “Unless management improves (in the third world) the major fishing grounds could be turned into a desert with appalling consequences” (Madeley, 151).

Organizations that are concerned with food provision security such as FAO and UNESCO show that 7 out of 10; approximately 69 percent of fish stocks that are targeted for commercial reasons have been heavily exploited or depleted. World wide, about 28 percent of fish in the seas are near extinction and in some cases they have already been depleted. (Mann, 2004) Examples of coasts that have already been depleted include that of South East Asia, Gulf of Thailand and North Mediterranean. Modern fishing methods are in a big way contributing to over fishing of sea fish and animals.

It is estimated that one out of four sea animals is a ‘by catch’ or unwanted. In most cases, by catch are more than the target amount for example in the Bering Sea, about 16 million of red crabs are discarded as only there millions are needed for the market. It is projected that by 2050, no species of fish that will have been remained in the sea if the current trend will continue. (Johnston D. M. , 1987) Measures to control over fishing should be taken in good time as tomorrow might be too late.

Third world countries should not over-rely on sea products instead they should try to diversify and if possible increase their food crop production and use sea food as supplementary. To control over fishing subsidies given to large scale fishing should be reduced and access to fishing grounds be limited. This is something that has already been put in place in countries such as New Zealand and Australia. References: Greenpeace International. It Can’t Go On Forever: Fishing in Troubled Waters – The Global Fisheries Crisis.

Available at http://archive. greenpeace. org/oceans/globaloverfishing/itcantgoonforever. html#9 Johnston D. M. , 1987. The international law of fisheries: a framework for policy- oriented inquiries. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Kirby A. 2003. Over fishing threat grows. Available at http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/science/nature/3156340. stm Madeley, J. , 2002. Food for all: the need for a new agriculture. Zed Books. Mann, C. C. The Blue water Revolution. Accessed from http://www. wired. com/wired/archive/12. 05/fish. html

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