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Overfishing and Shark Finning

Overfishing and shark finning are two issues that negatively affect marine life’s ecosystems and biodiversity.


Overfishing is when fishermen are catching too many fish before the fish can reproduce. This is an issue because fishing too much is causing the fish populations to decline.

The reason overfishing happens is because many fishermen sell them as a source of income. The buyers typically use the fish as a source of protein or for non-food-related. By simply doing their job, the fishermen are running the fish population to extinction.

Overfishing also causes an imbalance that can affect the food web and lead to the loss of other organisms. By having humans overfish they are making the fish population severely smaller; there have been more cases of overfishing and in the past half-century the amount of fish stocks overfished has tripled.

The effect on the ecosystem is the amount of fish in the population will determine the rate at which they can reproduce. If there are fewer fish, then there will be an imbalance in the entire ecosystem. This ecosystem disruption is causing the overexploitation of fish. This means the fish are being used in an unsustainable way; they are being used faster than they can be replenished.

Overfishing is an easy problem to quickly solve since the fishermen need to catch fish to sell them and make money. Many people depend on fish as a source of food, because it contains omega-3 acids. 


Shark finning:

Shark finning is a cruel process where the fin is cut off of a live shark and then the shark is thrown back into the water. This makes the shark unable to swim and causes them to die from suffocation or blood loss.

People are killing sharks solely for their fins because they want to make shark products, specifically shark soup. It is also used in medicine because it is thought to be beneficial to the lungs, kidneys, bones, and more.

Humans have caused an increase in demand for sharks because they want to make the popular Chinese dish, fin soup. Taking shark fins and throwing them back into the ocean will eventually lead to the sharks’ extinction since their populations grow slowly.

Shark finning will cause ecosystem instability because sharks are apex predators. Without sharks, the populations of its prey will increase too much. Similarly to overfishing, there is an overexploitation of sharks. This happens because sharks take a while to reproduce, so it is difficult to keep a steady population.

Again, like overfishing, many people sell shark fins as an occupation and if they were to stop providing these fins, the sellers would lose their jobs and source of income. Also, people would lose a popular cultural dish if shark fins stopped being sold.


Suggested Solutions:

For overfishing, I think the most effective solution would be to declare certain areas off-limits for non-sustainable fishing. If we can limit our fishing to only areas that are permitted and create laws that require well-managed fisheries, then hopefully the fish population will return to normal.

For a small-scale solution for shark finning, spreading awareness and telling people about the negative effects of shark finning can hopefully make a difference. Also, not purchasing shark fin products would help since it is the customers who are keeping the sellers in business. For a larger scale solution, if bans could be put in place against shark finning and protective laws for sharks could be enforced that would make a huge difference.

It is important to help preserve marine life and try our best not to add to the long list of negative effects humans have on our environment.

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