Impact of overfishing

It is easy to predict the most obvious impact of overfishing — no more fish for humans! And this is only a few decades from now if we do not act quickly and decisively. But there is far more to this than lack of fish. Here is why:

Ecosystems Destruction

According to marine ecologists, unsustainable fishing is the greatest threat to ocean ecosystems. The practice destroys the physical environments of marine life and distorts the entire food chain in the oceans. If the food chain breaks, the consequences will ripple up and down to all the living organisms that are in the chain. Important macroscopic changes have been observed in many ecosystems such as the North Sea, Yellow Sea, North Atlantic (e.g. George’s Bank and Barents Sea), Gulf of Thailand, and southeastern Australia. FAO

Economic Impact

There have been many closures to fisheries in many parts of the world including the Atlantic Canadian Cod Fishery in the 1990s. Sustainable fishing ensures that people’s livelihoods are protected and, the fishing business is sustained. Overfishing does not guarantee that, and soon, big investments will go waste, and people will be out of work.


Marine life is amazing and balanced with millions of fish species and other marine animals. Constantly fishing for particular species like the blue-fine tuna (which is people’s favorite) means soon that kind of fish will be extinct. That is why measures put in place to allow fishes to re-populate are very important and must be enforced.

A new study conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 5 out of the 8 tuna species are at risk of extinction. All three species of bluefin tuna, for example, are threatened with extinction and are at a population that makes their recovery practically irreversible.

Ghost Fishing

Many large fisheries stay for weeks and months in deep seas and sometimes lose their nets. These nets continue to trap and catch fishes under the water and end up killing them. These discarded nets stay there for many decades and the destruction they cause is fairly significant.


Oil and liquid spills, chemical, and solid elements discharged into the water by fishing boats, vessels and trawlers often hurt marine life. It is easy to think that the oceans are so big and these are not real threats, but a bit of pollution by thousands of trawlers every day contributes to something big and disturbing. Water pollution has very devastating consequences.