The impact of marine fishery on marine ecosystem and its management
Marine fishery is usually regarded as mariculture, which is not only an important part of modern agriculture, but also the core of marine economy. Garcia & de Leiva Moreno (2003) state that marine fishery is a material production activity that obtains products through the products of marine living resources and related activities. At present, research shows that although the development of marine fishery has made great contribution to human society, it also has a lot of negative effects on the development of marine ecosystem (Brander, 2010). What’s more, these adverse effects caused by marine fishery also restrict the development of marine fishery itself. Therefore, the impact of marine fishery on marine ecosystem needs to be paid attention by human society, and how to manage the ecosystem reasonably has become an inevitable trend of marine fishery management. In this essay, the impacts of marine fishery on marine ecosystem will be discussed in detail, and how these impacts are caused by marine fishery will be analyzed. Besides, this essay will discuss these impacts and give some suggestions on how to apply ecosystem approach in marine fisheries management.
2.0 Impacts of marine fisheries on marine ecosystems
Research shows that the total number of fishing boats in the world has exceeded 4 million, and these large-scale fishing activities at sea have brought many negative impacts on the marine ecosystem, such as destroying the habitat of fishery resources, polluting the environment and reducing marine biodiversity (Islam & Tanaka, 2004). Therefore, this part mainly discusses a series of impacts of marine fisheries on marine ecosystem and analyzes how these impacts are caused by marine fisheries.
2.1 Impact of marine fishery on target species and non target species
First of all, marine fishing has a great impact on the resources of target species. Dayton et al. (1995) stated that the research survey showed that a large number of commercial fishing activities around the world caused a significant decline or even nearly depletion of the resources of the target species. Moreover, the data show that the world’s marine large-scale fish resources have been reduced by nearly 90%, which has led to changes in the community structure of marine living resources, and also caused changes in the structure of fishing species and fish yield (Bianchi et al., 2000). Therefore, these results reflect that people’s commercial fishing activities have resulted in the decrease of marine living resources and the change of community structure.
Secondly, Dayton et al. (1995) stated that if a large number of target species are fished, such behavior will inevitably have a direct impact on other living resources in the ocean. For example, when people overfished Gadus macrocephalus Tilesius, the food of Phoca vitulina population would be greatly threatened (Eigaard, 2014). That is to say, when people make a large number of fishing for a target species, it will not only greatly reduce the resources of this target species, but also may greatly cause changes in the quantity of other non target species resources, so that the whole marine biological resources and ecosystem lose the stability that they should have. Therefore, people’s overfishing of a certain target species will make the predatory and competitive relationship between marine organisms out of balance, thus threatening the resources of non target species.
What’s more, Jiménez et al. (2012) stressed that some marine fishing operations have the problem of catching and discarding fish at the same time, which will also have a negative impact on non target species to some extent. In some marine fishing operations, people will take longline fishing for Thunnus, which is easy to catch seabirds and Cheloniidae at the same time (Stevens et al., 2000). In fact, most marine mammals and birds are located at the top of the food chain in the marine biological system, and their number is relatively small compared with other marine organisms (Tasker et al., 2000). Therefore, this kind of simultaneous capture is likely to cause the decline of marine biological resources, which will have a negative impact on the ecosystem. In addition, Phillips et al. (2010) also pointed out that a large number of concurrent fisheries for Diomedea have been carried out by longline fishing, resulting in the situation that nearly 19 species of 21 species of Diomedea in the world are on the verge of extinction. Further, the research data show that nearly 7.3 million tons of marine biological resources are discarded after being caught simultaneously every year in the world (Granadeiro et al., 2011). However, the phenomenon of discarding fish will also have a great impact on marine biology. It can be seen that the behavior of both catching and discarding fish in the process of marine fishing will directly affect the non target species.
2.2 Impact on fishery resource habitat
Bellido et al. (2011) pointed out that fishing gear used in some fishing methods, such as trawling, shellfish raking and so on, would damage the habitat of fishery resources. Moreover, according to Rieser, Watling & Guinotte (2013), research survey data show that in 2008, nearly 90% of the damage caused by marine fisheries to marine ecosystems was caused by trawling. This shows that in fishing activities, although these towed fishing gear will help people to obtain a large number of marine biological resources, it will change and destroy the habitat of fishery resources to a certain extent. More importantly, Pusceddu et al. (2014) shows that researchers have found that most of the cold water coral reefs in the Northeast Atlantic are damaged by trawling tools. Collie et al. (2017) further stressed that these fishing tools like trawling tools will not only damage the biological resources of the seabed, such as seaweed and coral reefs, but also cause the disturbance of the bottom mud and other substances and the suspension of sediment, which is easy to cause water pollution and affect the normal operation of the ecological cycle process of the seabed. Therefore, a series of fishing gear used in marine fishery activities have a negative impact on the seabed resources and the habitats of fishery resources.
2.3 Impact on the overall marine water environment
Many fishing boats do not have very high capacity to deal with pollutants, especially some small fishing boats (Lindgren et al., 2016). Also, Lindgren et al. (2016) explained that many small fishing boats do not have a high ability to deal with pollutants, and the pollutants they will discharge such as oil pollution will cause pollution of the marine water environment. More importantly, some fishing boats will take inappropriate fishing activities, such as electric fish, fried fish and even poisonous fish, and some fishing boats will randomly throw their fishing gear into the sea during the fishing process (Bellido et al., 2011). For example, some people throw trawls and other fishing tools directly into the ocean in the process of fishing, and the creatures in the ocean may inadvertently devour these “things they don’t know” and cause health diseases (Méhault, Morandeau & Kopp, 2016). Therefore, fishing boats without high capacity to deal with pollutants and discarding fishing tools into the sea not only pose a threat to marine living resources, but also damage the overall environment of the marine waters.
Obviously, a series of inappropriate and excessive fishing activities of marine fishery will have a great negative impact and serious consequences on the target species, non target species, fishery resource habitat and the overall water environment. In the 1960s, there were more than 25 fish species in the Black Sea for commercial fishing. However, in recent years, studies have shown that there are only about five kinds of fish available for commercial fishing, all of which are attributed to people’s overfishing activities (Srinivasan et al., 2010). That is to say, if these activities of marine fishery are not improved and managed reasonably, it will not only reduce the number of marine living resources and even lead to species extinction, but also cause habitat degradation, thus causing the consequences of threatening marine biodiversity.
3.0 Suggestions for marine fisheries management based on ecosystem approach
Nowadays, many regional international organizations have realized the adverse effects of marine fisheries on ecosystems and started to manage marine fisheries through ecosystem based approaches.Fabri (2014) pointed out that the general assembly of the United Nations called on the world to adopt an ecosystem approach to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems. Rosen & Olsson (2013) further pointed out that the marine management strategies of the United States, Australia, the Philippines and other countries have begun to tend to ecosystem based management. It can be seen that many countries have begun to take action and apply ecosystem approaches to fisheries management. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on the protection and management of marine living resources and environment.
First of all, it is an effective method to improve fishing gear and fishing methods reasonably to reduce concurrent fishing. Mainly, Zhou (2010) believed that strengthening the use of separation grid and grid can effectively improve the selection of target organisms and non target organisms. Secondly, it is also an effective way to prevent it by adding special weakening and catching equipment (Løkkeborg, 2011). That is to say, when people install specific weakening and catching devices, it helps to prevent other creatures such as turtles, seabirds and so on from catching in fishing activities. In addition, Gilman (2015) suggested that more new fishing gear materials could be used to reduce the potential risk of loss and abandonment of fishing tools in fishing activities.
Besides, strengthening the protection of fishery resources and habitats is also a crucial measure. Suuronen (2012) proposed that the local fishing habitat could prohibit the use of some destructive fishing gear in vulnerable habitats and the frequent contact of these fishing gear with the seabed. To some extent, it can protect vulnerable habitats such as coral reef areas. What’s more, Macreadie, Fowler & Booth (2011) state that people can consider putting artificial fish reefs in habitats that have been severely damaged or degraded, which will help provide a good habitat for marine organisms. More importantly, fishing boats need to improve energy efficiency to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other exhaust gases as much as possible, so as to reduce the adverse impact on the marine environment (Huisingh et al., 2015). Therefore, in order to protect the vulnerable habitat of fishery resources, strict management and rational use of fishing boats and fishing gear are very important measures.
Further, reasonable planning and management of marine protected areas and closed fishing areas can also help maintain marine biodiversity and protect habitats as much as possible. The implementation of the closed area can effectively protect the fishing habitat, but it requires not only a strong management team and ship detection system, but also a high cost (Kincaid & Rose, 2014). In addition, scientific control of unreasonable fishing and implementation of fishing quota management will help to reduce a large number of overfishing activities (Barner et al., 2015). Therefore, these measures have played a certain role in protecting marine fishery resources and relieving the pressure of marine ecosystem.
In conclusion, it can be found that marine fishery will have a series of impacts on the marine ecosystem, which is not only reflected in the adverse effects of fishing activities on target and non target species, but also in the damage of inappropriate fishing behavior to the marine environment and marine biodiversity. Therefore, only by adopting scientific and effective methods to manage the marine ecosystem can we improve the living environment of marine fishery and protect the habitat of fishery resources, so as to achieve the dual goals of restoring the biodiversity of marine ecosystem and promoting the stable development of marine fishery.
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