The industrialization of commercial fishing, long lining, by-catch, shark finning , waste of the actual catch as well as pollution is destroying the wildlife in the oceans. Seafood consumption has jumped 8 x since the 1950’s. This rise in global catch and consumption has become unsustainable, destroying approximately 40 percent of the ocean life since 1970. Industrial trawlers catch between 200 and 500 tons of fish per day, they have nets large enough to fit two 747 airliners and can decimate fisheries in relatively short order. Despite the emergence of a Global Ocean Commission and the passage of numerous international agreements, and some close to shore marine preserves, the fish stocks continue to collapse at an ever increasing rate. With the fisheries being annihilated by commercial fishing those people in less developed countries who depend on fish for protein will begin to suffer from mass starvation, violence and political turmoil. These people will become environmental refugees, creating serious political pressure and sever repercussions. Since the High Seas do not belong to any one nation, the area is available for the exploitation by all developed nations, creating a tragedy of the commons that has taken hold of the fish stocks. Since the main Predator Fish are becoming extinct due to overfishing, we have to fish lower and lower on the food chain destroying the delicate ecosystem. Developed nations are consuming endangered fish species for protein creating a demand that drives tax subsidies for commercial fishing allowing them to be profitable. Most people in developed nations are not educated about the severity of the situation and do not understand the threat that commercial fishing creates.
The Proposed Solutions
Create a Global Education Campaign – that will educate people in the developed nations on the importance of preserving the wildlife in the oceans. This will help reduce the demand and pressure that is placed on the fisheries from commercial fishing. This will be accomplished through social media, advertising, panel discussions, lobbying and commercial fishing reform. The 50 sustainable Cities Campaign- is an initiative to get the 50 largest cities in the United States to adopt sustainability as their environmental policy. We will accomplish this by having panel discussions on why they should become a sustainable seafood city, educating the public on the dangers of overfishing as well as working with other environmental groups. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Food Watch phone app- is a phone application that informs the consumer about sustainability as well as which seafood is fished and farmed in ways that protect sea life and its habitat and which are not. This application also recommends seafood items that are “Best Choices”, “Good Alternatives” or which ones you should “Avoid”. We are actively promoting the app as well as working with the three largest phone manufacturers to make this app preprogrammed on all their smart phones. Eliminate Harmful Tax Subsidies- that amount to approximately $35 billion per year. Without these subsidies high seas fisheries would not be economically viable. We will work with members of the House and Congress to create reform and eliminate these harmful tax subsidies. Create a Global High Seas Marine Preserve- that places 70 percent of the ocean off limits to industrial commercial fishing. We will work with volunteers, scientific advisors, lobbyist and government officials to put pressure on Congress to pass such a law.