The Truth Behind Overfishing and Sustainable Fishing

Unlike good ol’ fashion angling, fishing with nets, and similar methods, some species may be caught unnecessarily, affecting their population and reproduction. Moreover, sometimes the amount of fish caught is to an unsustainable level.

Although many local governments have enforced laws and regulations for fishing resorts and lodges and anglers to follow, there are other ways to help maximize sustainability. One of the biggest threats to fish stocks and species populations is overfishing. 

What Is Overfishing?

Overfishing can be achieved in several ways. For one, illegal fishing and trade are unregulated, uncontrolled, and non-protective of species repopulation and habitats. Experts say that there is an estimated $36.4 billion worth of unlawful catches a year. Another prime cause of overfishing is the excessive number of fishing fleets. Today, there is about two and a half more capacity in fishing fleets than necessary. 

The Problem With Overfishing 

The World Wildlife Fund warns that overfishing can result in significant negative outcomes. Firstly, overfishing degrades marine ecosystems. It affects the supply chain, the reproduction rate of certain species, and even their growth. When fish stocks are significantly depleted, this causes an imbalance in ecosystems, endangering other marine species.

As fish stocks continue to dwindle from the current overfishing, there might not be enough to supply and secure food needed in the years to come. Not only does overfishing threaten a source of food for many people in the globe, but it may also put people out of jobs and affect local coastal economies.

Sustainable Fishing Methods 

Fish products are widely considered one of the healthiest food options and one of the most eco-friendly. As a result, they are a safe and nutritious food source for the rest of the globe. With this much at stake, it’s best to re-evaluate your current fishing methods. Here are among the sustainable fishing methods anglers and enthusiasts alike can take part in.


In the early 1930s, spearfishing became popular as a pastime. How it works is that the shaft is dragged through the tube and is pulled back, expanding the loop. The shaft is thrust forwards when it is disengaged. As one might expect, it requires skill and practice to spearfish successfully.

Spearfishing is a one-to-one type of fishing. A spearfisher spots a single target before making the hit. According to scientific evidence, those who engage in spearfishing only catch a very small percentage of fish with only less than 1% as opposed to those who engage in recreational and commercial fishing. 

Spearfishing, without a doubt, is a challenging way to catch fish. Should you want to give it a try, be sure to look up the local laws and regulations in your area. For example, from September 1 to April 30, regulations in some areas of Alaska allow spearfishing or catching fish with a bow and arrow, specifically for northern pike and whitefish.

Pole and Line

Pole and line fishing is among the most sustainable fishing methods out there, especially since it’s used to catch certain tuna species with largely healthy stocks. In Maldives, pole and line fishing is widely used in catching their tuna, making their tuna market sustainable. This benefits the tuna populations and the habitats of other marine life.

The International Pole and Line Foundation backs this up. Pole and line fishing only involves one by one ratio fishing, making a more intentional and small-scale setup. Additionally, the process doesn’t include any bycatch or harm to other marine life. 


Technology is making it feasible to produce food in marine waters. This way is known as aquaculture.  Aquaculture is a way for food supply and other commercial goods. It’s also one way of restoring habitat and replenishing fish stocks.  Fish and other marine creatures are bred, reared, and harvested in aquaculture.

Aquaculture might have had a rough image in the past, but today its use and purpose have been re-evaluated such that it would present more good than harm. One of the critiques of aquaculture was the amount of wild fish extraction needed to feed farmed fish. The bycatch of relatively young wild fish may affect the stock growth of a species.

Today, however, feeding management and domestication methods are among some improved practices in aquaculture. As a result, aquaculture becomes more sustainable while reducing its carbon footprint.

Depletion of fish stocks, compromised ecosystems, and a lack of food security are some of the most impactful outcomes of overfishing. This is an ongoing problem as the global population grows. But with research and scientific efforts put into bettering this situation, it may alleviate the damage.

However, that might not be enough. By engaging in or supporting sustainable fishing methods and practices, populations of fish wouldn’t have to be unnecessarily depleted. 

Meta title: How One Can Fish Sustainably to Fight Overfishing
meta desc: Not everyone fishes with only a rod and line. Some fish with nets and fleets, catching more fish than needed. Learn to be a sustainable and responsible angler.