The World's Troubled Oceans: Unsustainable Fisheries

commerical fishing boatOverfishing by Canadian and other countries' vessels has resulted has according to experts, resulted in the commerical depletion of some two thirds of the world’s 200 major fisheries. If the intensity and speed of overfishing continues at the current rate the balance are heading for eventual commercial collapse.

Bycatch is a term for unwanted species being caught in commercial fishing nets and weirs. Reportedly, more than 25% of the world’s total haul is considered bycatch and is thrown away. More often than not, the animals have drowned or are injured, and do not survive being caught in these nets.

Drag nets used in bottom trawling and other destructive methods destroy vital habitat, and result in the deaths of millions of coral, sponges, and other bottom dwelling ocean organisms.

Current fishing methods result in the daily deaths of countless sea birds, turtles, whales and dolphins. Even the World Bank and the World Trade Organization have said this is a badly over subsidized industry with too many vessels catching too many fish.

The Sea Choice Program has been established to help Canadians find out what they can do by simply choosing to eat fish that have been caught or farmed using more environmentally friendly and sustainable methods by clicking here. An earlier project called the Seafood Watch Program was been established for people in the United States and can be found here.

The Humane Society of Canada has funded a marine mammal disentanglement project off the east Coast of Canada in the Bay of Fundy. The Harbour Porpoise Release Program was created by the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station to assist and train local fishermen to safely release harbour porpoises from their herring weirs. With our support, not only harbour porpoises but minke whales and basking sharks have been successfully removed from these fishing traps.