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Problems and Concerns caused by Human Influences on the Environment Index

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Fact File No. 65

Because of over-fishing off the coast of Peru, the numbers of anchovies caught dropped from 13 million tonnes to 1 million tonnes in twenty years.

 

Fact File No. 66

Over-fishing in the North Sea caused the herring catch to fall from 7 thousand million tonnes in 1966 to a quarter of a million tonnes in 1976.

Herring for sale, Paris market © Shirley Burchill

 

 

LOGO

Accessed May 2015

.....This is best done by looking at some figures published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 1 The FAO scientists publish a two yearly report (SOFIA) on the state of the world's fisheries and aquaculture. 2 The report is generally rather conservative regarding the acknowledging of problems but does show the key issue and trends. Due to the difficulty of aggregating and combining the data it can be stated that the SOFIA report is a number of years behind of the real situation.

52% of fish stocks are fully exploited
20% are moderately exploited
17% are overexploited
7% are depleted
1% is recovering from depletion.

The above shows that over 25% of all the world's fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. Another 52% is fully exploited, these are in imminent danger of overexploitation (maximum sustainable production level) and collapse. Thus a total of almost 80% of the world's fisheries are fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish stocks are already gone. In the real world all this comes down to two serious problems.

 

 

PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS CAUSED BY HUMAN INFLUENCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

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Fishing

Anchovies, Peru © Shirley Burchill

 

Fact File No. 64

In 1958 we took 27 million tonnes of fish from our seas and oceans. This number had increased to 68 million tonnes by 1982 and to 79 million tonnes in 2011.

 

Over-fishing is occurring because the fishing industry is becoming so much more efficient. Small fishing boats have been replaced by fishing "factory" ships which can remove thousands of tonnes of fish from the sea with one catch. If too many reproductive adults are removed, the numbers of fish will gradually decrease. There needs to be a ban on fishing in certain parts of our seas and oceans for a few years. This would allow the numbers of fish to build up.

 

Whale bones left by whalers on an Antarctic Beach © Shirley Burchill

 

There has been a lot of argument about whaling. When the people who live in the tundra regions of the world kill a whale, they use all of it, either for food or for clothing etc. More important is the fact that the whales are only killed to supply the needs of the natives.

The large whaling ships, however, kill whales and sell their meat, bone and blubber all over the world. The table below lists just a few items which are made from whale products. The whaling ships are so efficient at finding and killing whales that many species of whales are nearly extinct.

 

Items that are made from whale products

anti-freeze
candlewax
chicken feed
cosmetics
detergents
fertilizers
insecticides
jewellery
lubricants
margarine
paint
pet food
soap
stock-cubes
varnishes
wax crayons

 

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