In the past few decades, it has become abundantly clear that our insatiable appetite for fish is destroying the oceans. A recent study found that due to the unsustainable rate at which we are taking fish out of the oceans, the world’s fish stocks will collapse within the next 10 years. Basically, if we do not lower the demand for fish and seafood, the oceans will be entirely empty within our lifetimes … well, that is if you don’t count all the plastic. While this message is understandably dire for fish populations, it also spells disaster for other marine life.
In order to reach the high yields of seafood in the face of dwindling populations, commercial fisheries have turned to aggressive methods that often lead to high amounts of bycatch, or non-target marine life. In fact, it is estimated that 40 percent of global fish catches are made up of bycatch which can include animals like dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, and seals.
This video from Sea Shepherd’s Operation Albacore, serves as a perfect example of how commercial fishing impacts marine species. Here, we see an endangered whale shark trapped in tuna net. Thanks to the fast action of the Sea Shepherd team, the whale shark was freed from these restraints in time. If they hadn’t intervened, we can only imagine what would have become of this individual.
We can all play a role in conserving the ocean and marine species by reducing or eliminating our seafood consumption. You can also help by supporting Sea Shepherd’s work. To learn more about Operation Albacore, click here.