Open Access and Overcapacity: Presently there are many structural problems in the Pacific fishing industry, including toxic fumes found in the water, non-selective fishing practices, yet the largest problem seems to be too many boats and an over-reliance on fish. The social and economic consequences have proven to be very severe in specific areas. Tens of thousands of fisherman in Eastern Canada, for example, have lost careers that had been transferred through generations.
declines that in May 1999, Canada granted itself authority to seize vessels found breaking fishery conservation rules within international waters of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) regulatory area, where national maritime laws do not extend. Such action not only indicates the severity of the depletion of the oceans' resources, but also the absence of an effective national fisheries management system.
Coastal Degradation and Discards Overfishing is not the only factor contributing to the current decline in fisheries.
Environmental degradation of coastal areas that is caused by filling and development and by pollution from industrial, municipal, and agricultural sources perhaps represents an even greater long-term threat to aquatic productivity. Conversion of wetlands and pollution of critical areas such as estuaries and bays, which provide spawning, feeding, and nursery areas for many important marine species, are proceeding rapidly in coastal areas as demographic shifts brings a large group of the population to the coasts.
Another reason for the poor condition of global fish stocks is that some 25 percent of the annual marine fish catch is simply discarded because it is considered unusable. Nearly one third of all fish are thrown back to sea dead or dying each year because of wasteful fishing practices. Discards include not only undersized fish of the target species but also low-value and non target species. The lack of selectivity of current...