As expected after the findings early this year, the world’s fish populations have been on a serious decline for the past four decades. One of the biggest reasons is that countries have been severely underreporting their fishing quotas. The difference between reports and reality is of more than 30 million metric tons every year.
Because of this, the world’s fish populations have dropped 74% over the past four decades. Fortunately however, according to a study led by the Environmental Defense Fund, we could easily save the world’s fish populations by 2050. The only issue is that all of us will have to follow the guidelines, and we’re not all that good at that.
Bring back the fish
By improving fishing practices according to the guidelines developed by the team that performed the study, the world’s fisheries could see an increase of as much as 77 percent. This would offer a significant population increase in just ten years, and it would generate a 204 percent in increase in profits for fishermen by 2050.
If things continue as they are, many of the world’s fisheries would collapse, and some three billion people would be left without their main protein source. However, if the guidelines are followed, the fish populations would grow by 16 metric tons every year and would generate yearly profits of $53 billion.
We can have our fish and eat it too
The team comprised of members from the Universities of California Santa Barbara and Washington looked at the data of some 4,700 fisheries, representing about 78% of all documented fish. Additionally, this would be pretty much the easiest global environmental to fix.
It would provide us with more money, more fish, and a great many more benefits. However, as seen with the recent Japanese whaling scandal, as well as the significant underreporting of caught fish (about 30% less than reality), we might actually not be able to work together as nations well enough to make this happen.
Winning on multiple fronts
So – more fish, avoiding an ecological disaster and a food crisis, and huge amounts of jobs and profits; these would be the benefits of following the rules designed by the Environmental Defense Fund for this particular reason. The rules are referred to as a catch share system.
According to them, fishermen would only be allowed to keep a certain amount of fish, with the rest to be released. With each year and the increase of the fish populations, this number would grow, eventually the limit being removed entirely.
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