Fisheries 101

What is a fishery?: A fishery is an entity that is engaged in raising or harvesting fish. A fishery is defined in terms of the people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of these features.

Positive Impacts of Fisheries: Fisheries create jobs within the local community in terms of the actual fishing, the cleaning of the fish, and processing and shipping of the fish caught. In 2011, the fisheries industry created 1.2 million jobs in the United States. Fisheries also boost city, state, and national economies through the increase of jobs because more fish can be caught and processed. U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.1 billion dollars. Fisheries also satisfy national demand for seafood because seafood is becoming more and more popular in the national appetite. The United States continues to be ranked as the third largest consumer of fish and shellfish behind China and Japan.

Negative Impacts of Fisheries: Fisheries help foster the spread of diseases to other organisms and wild fish. In a study done in 2011, 39 percent of adult wild salmon in the Northeast Atlantic are killed by parasite infections. A large source of these sea lice are found in aquaculture facilities. The food chain is disrupted due to the impact of fisheries. It takes several pounds of wild fish to grow just one pound of farmed fish. Natural habitats are destroyed by the drilling, dredging, and other technologies used to harvest fish for these fisheries. Habitat destruction impacts marine biodiversity, species richness, abundance, distribution, genetic variation, and inter-population dynamics.

Since fisheries have positive as well as negative impacts on humans and fish populations, it is our responsibility to create and ensure sustainable fish farming in order to better protect the lives of the fish and provide for humans as well.

Sources: Escape Fish Farming IB Feb 2013.pdf

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