Fishing is an activity that has been around for centuries, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. While it can be a great way to relax and enjoy nature, it can also have some serious negative effects on the environment. In this article, we'll explore the various ways in which fishing can have a negative impact on the environment, from changes in fish populations to habitat alteration and pollution. When too many fish are removed from the ocean, an imbalance is created that can erode the food web and cause the loss of other important marine species, including vulnerable species such as sea turtles and corals.
This is known as overfishing, and it can have a devastating effect on the ocean's ecosystem. It can also change the size of the fish that are left, as well as the way they reproduce and the speed at which they mature. Habitat alteration caused by various human activities can also have a negative effect on fish populations. This can be physical (for example, through the addition of artificial structures such as artificial reefs, oil rigs or aquaculture facilities), mechanical (for example, through the plowing effect of dredges and trawls) or chemical (for example, through the injection of nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals, drugs, hormones).
Fishing can cause changes in resource productivity (some positive and some negative) and affect associated species. Some aspects of fishing can have significant and lasting effects, for example destructive fishing techniques using dynamite or cyanides or inappropriate fishing practices (for example, trawling in an incorrect habitat). Pollution is another major issue when it comes to fishing. Pollution of fish processing plants can lead to contamination of ecosystems with food waste, waste, antibiotics, hormones, diseases and exotic species.
The use of refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer and the dumping of plastic waste into the sea can also have a detrimental effect on marine life. The loss of fishing equipment can lead to ghost fishing, while lack of selectivity can result in juvenile mortality and an additional threat to endangered species. Poorly managed large-scale mariculture can damage coastal wetlands and near-coast ecosystems, which are often used by the main fishing catch resources as nurseries. New research shows that recreational fishing can sometimes be a big problem too, especially for threatened species of marine fish.
Additionally, other researchers have determined that fish farming has new negative environmental impacts on surrounding wild fish populations. So how is it that the actions of individuals can have such a broad effect? Recreational fishermen usually catch just a few ocean fish in an entire day, while commercial fishing on an industrial scale usually uses miles-long gear and catches tons of marine life at a time.