Hello readers. Welcome to #SolutionMonday on CleanbuildVoices!
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there was a 122% rise in total fish consumption from 1990 to 2018, while fish accounted for about 17% of the total animal protein, and 7% of all proteins consumed globally in 2017.
This shows how important fish is to humans based on its nutritional value and as a source of food.
However, there has been a huge scale of fish depletion in Africa over the past decades due to overfishing and rising temperatures as a result of climate change. According to a study, countries like the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, etc., have been most affected by the consistent decline of aquatic life in Africa due to illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, which amounts to 65% of the legal reported catch.
Overfishing takes place when more fish are caught than they can naturally reproduce (they are caught from the sea at rates that are too high for them to recover from depletion). This is closely linked to bycatch which refers to the capture of unwanted sea species while fishing for an entirely different one.
Overfishing endangers marine ecosystems and affects the balance of life in oceans. What, then, can be done to curb fish depletion?
To discourage overfishing and make the fishing industry more sustainable in the long run, these 4 steps are important:
Encouraging responsible fish farming
Fish farming isn’t bad, it is usually the method employed that endangers aquatic species. When fish farming is done correctly, it can lead to a sustainable way of food and resources production in the continent. This can also be especially beneficial to species that are prone to overfishing.
The government can play a huge role in ensuring that fishing practices that are not sustainable are mitigated. With the right regulations and policies, a more sustainable fishing industry can be achieved.
Educating those individuals
Education is very important in the fish depletion crisis. This education must be in two-folds: educating individuals and fishing companies on sustainable fishing practices and the dangers of overfishing, and educating retailers on ways to purchase their seafood from sustainable fisheries.
Setting up protected marine areas
Setting up more protected areas in the ocean can help solve the fish depletion crisis and conserve incredible marine ecosystems. These areas, if regulated with strict rules and proper aquaculture practices, could stop overfishing once and for all.