Humans are the self-proclaimed “owners” of the Earth, colonizing the habitat of 8.7 million species and endangering them in the most dangerous ways. “We are humans, intelligent and the most dangerous animal” on the planet. We have killed more animals than any other species, destroyed more ecosystems than any other animal and have caused other species to go extinct. We are the humans, “The killing machines” of planet earth. Since the beginning of life on Earth 3.7 billion years ago, numerous species of creatures such as dinosaurs have gone extinct due to natural disasters on the planet. The mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, and plesiosaurs, as well as all the flying reptiles known as pterosaurs, accompanied them. Since the advent of humans, at least 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds, and mammals are going extinct every 24 hours. The pace is approximately 1000 times faster than normal, and it is unlike anything the world has seen since the Cretaceous period between 145.5 and 65 million years ago. Over 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are thought to be gone. The ocean spans 71% of the earth's surface, while the fishing sector accounts for 80% of the value of exploited marine resources. Our sugar coated lives are plenished with the luxury of various kinds of foods, most of which comes from killing the innocent lifeforms by merely just existing in their habitat. We live in their homes, wear their skin, eat them and their food and claim rights on things which were never ours to begin with. The consequences of all these are far reaching, making the Earth hollow from inside and taking its life from it.
One of the most precarious threats to our ocean is our lack of knowledge. How are we, our oceans, and our water affected by industrial seafood activity? What influence does seafood consumption have on the environment? When we eat unsustainable seafood, it has a variety of consequences for our seas. The fish business, habitat degradation, and plastic pollution are three of the most often overlooked links.
The Effect of fishing practices on Marine Life
When industrialized fishing vessels remove more seafood from the sea than the people can replenish, this is known as overfishing. Getting as much seafood as possible may seem like a good idea at the time, but overfishing is a bad idea in the long run. Thousands of fisheries are on the verge of exceeding this limit. A trophic cascade can be triggered by threatened and endangered species. When an ecosystem loses too many individuals of a single organism, the creatures that rely on it for sustenance, get hungry. If the missing creature is a predator, its prey population explodes, depleting the prey's food supply. This vicious cycle will continue until the ecology is completely depleted.
Overfishing not only causing imbalance to our oceans, but is also killing it.
Because of the substantial harmful impacts on seas, several fishing activities have been rendered banned. However, not all harmful fishing techniques are prohibited everywhere. Various sorts of gear are prohibited in different nations, regions, and states. When these rules are broken, it can have serious consequences for the environment. Fishermen and industrial fishing organizations may, for example, resort to immature fish that are under the legal size limit in an overfished region. This prevents the population of that species of fish from increasing. If this cycle continues, the region may eventually be devoid of fish, if not all life.
When fisheries catch fish that aren't the target species, this is known as by-catch. By-catch is sometimes discarded by fishermen, who then toss the damaged creatures back into the sea. In many fisheries, just half of the fish caught is kept! By-catch is sometimes kept by fishing enterprises because it is valuable. Shark fins, for example, are highly prized, thus when a shark is taken as a by-catch, its fins are often cut and retained, resulting in the shark's death. Shrimp fisheries, which take up to six pounds of by-catch for every pound of shrimp, are one of the major contributors to the problem of by-catch. Bycatch can injure animals, contribute to population losses, and obstruct population recovery in species including dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, and whales. Other fisheries-related implications on marine animals include the elimination of their preferred prey and, in certain cases, habitat destruction. According to the best available statistics, 17-22% U.S. catch is wasted every year, despite the fact that bycatch data is frequently old and erroneous. Bycatch in the United States might total 2 billion pounds per year, which is equal to the yearly catch of several other fishing nations around the world.
India has a catchable annual fisheries potential yield of 4.41 million tonnes (CMFRI 2013). Marine fish production in India which was only 0.5 million tonnes in 1950, increased to 3.59 million tonnes in 2014. The first estimation of the quantity of bycatch associated with shrimp trawling by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Cochin in 1979 showed that 79.18% (3 15 902 tonnes) of the total landings was represented as bycatch; the percentage of bycatch was maximum in Gujarat (92.58), followed by Tamil Nadu (91.04) and Pondicherry (86.52). In India, the bycatch landed at fishing harbors are utilized mainly for the production of manure and animal feed (Biju Kumar & Deepthi, 2006). Kelleher (2004) estimated total bycatch discards in Indian fisheries at 58 000 tonnes, which formed about 2% of the total landings. In Indian scenario, it is estimated that about 56.3% of the total catch of shrimp trawlers is bycatch.
The effect of pollution in the sea on Marine Life
Plastic in the ocean
Plastic poisoning is wreaking havoc on our ocean and the many creatures who call it home. It was sad to see these animals washing up with their guts filled with plastic, not just because of their tremendous intellect, but because they help keep the entire ocean alive.
When dolphins and whales rise to breathe, they nourish phytoplankton, small marine plants that absorb four times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the Amazon rainforest each year and provide up to 85% of the oxygen humans breathe. Preserving these species means protecting the entire earth in a world worried about carbon and climate change.
If dolphins and whales die, the ocean dies. And if the ocean dies, so do we. Plastic is infiltrating every part of the world's waters, with massive floating waste patches like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch collecting in the middle of the ocean. In reality, every minute, the equivalent of a trash truckload of plastic is dumped into the sea, adding to the over 150 million tonnes of plastic that already float there.
According to the United Nations, marine debris affects at least 800 species globally, with plastic accounting for up to 80% of the waste. Every minute, up to 13 million metric tonnes of plastic is projected to wind up in the ocean, the equivalent of a trash or garbage truck load. When fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals become entangled in or ingest plastic waste, they can suffer from suffocation, starvation, and drowning. While it is predicted that plastics take hundreds of years to totally dissolve, some of them break down considerably faster into microscopic particles, which wind up in the seafood we consume. Scientists predict that by 2050, the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the total weight of all fish in the seas unless immediate action is made to solve this critical issue.
In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, fishing nets account for 46% of the plastic. The large volume of ropes and lines discarded by fishing vessels is a big issue. Even some of the world's most isolated locations are swamped in fishing gear today. The most common rubbish found in the guts of marine species is fishing gear. Every day, longline fishing produces enough fishing lines to wrap around the globe 500 times.