The Dangers Of Overfishing In America

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Fish have always been an important part of the American diet, from the day that the United States was founded to today. In 2009, Americans consumed a total of 2.8 billion pounds of seafood, or approximately 15.8 pounds of fish and shellfish per person a year (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The United States today, with a population of 318.9 million and only increasing, the demand for seafood has never been greater (United States Census Bureau). Subsequently, fishermen are catching more and more fish from the oceans due to many ocean fisheries being “open access”, meaning fishermen can fish all they want with no limits and earn more money. This quickly leads to overfishing, which occurs when fishing activities deplete the population of fish to unsustainable levels, meaning fish are being caught faster than they can reproduce. While many Americans acknowledge the fact that fish are being caught in unsustainable numbers, many fail to realize that overfishing harms marine life in more ways than one. Unwanted fish are accidentally caught by fisheries and are tossed back into the water, often as dead bycatch. A fishing technique called bottom trawling scrapes the seafloor and anything in its path, destroying marine habitats. The absence of large …show more content…
With the absence of a large amount of primary consumer fish, such as tuna and salmon, top predators such as sharks lose their main food source and simply die off. The organisms that were once eaten by the primary consumer fish, such as algae, are now also able to grow and flourish unchallenged. With today’s disappearance of these mid-level fish, coral reefs are being taken over by algae, lethal jellyfish are crowding oceans and lakes, sharks and penguins are dying of starvation (Montaigne,

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