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The Fish in danger in the Pacific

As man has become more technologically adept at fishing many species are becoming endangered. The modern trawler can not only identify where fish are located, but they can even tell what species they are. Vast nets are able to sweep huger numbers of fish out of the ocean. With many boats, from a large variety of nations, every day of the year the effect in certain areas has been devastating. The problem has exacerbated by smaller younger fish being removed which has ridded the waters of the future breeding stock.

Tuna at a Japanese fish market

The Pacific Bluefin tuna is one fish that has really suffered with its population dropping in recent years by a staggering 96%. The main problem is that the fish is a delicacy in sushi and sashimi eating houses in Asia. One fish actually sold for 1.75 million US dollars and with this type of reward being made available the captains of fishing vessels will go to virtually any lengths to land their prize catch.

Japanese fishermen are the main guilty parties as they tried and satisfy their local demands. It has been estimated that as well as fishing outside their designated area they exceed their quotas by 25 times what they are actually allowed to catch. One of the largest fisheries is in the East China Sea which supplies 10% of the all of the fish caught in China. The area has suffered from a combination of both pollution and over fishing. In 2001 the catch dropped from 1.3 million tons to 980,000 tons. The quality of the fish also suffered with the fish becoming more juvenile as the older ones have disappeared.

This has resulted in the Chinese fishing fleet venturing further in order find quantities of fish. Some fish such as the cuttlefish and the yellow croaker have virtually disappeared, and is the only the government’s subsidizing of the diesel has kept the boats on the water.

The huge Chinese fishing fleet

This has resulted in the boats travelling to the West African coast in search of the yellow croaker. However, the Chinese pursuit of the popular fish is not a recent phenomenon and the overfishing in the Zhoushan province in the 19th century saw it virtually disappear from the region. The sheer size of the Chinese population has meant that there is a constants demand on the Oceans fish. Industrialization of the country at the start of the 20th century led to a faster, larger and more efficient fishing fleet. This relentless harvesting of the waters saw the sea bream’s numbers come under pressure and by the end of the 1920s numbers of the fish caught had declined.

The reduction of the fish stocks in the region was not helped by the competition between Japanese and Chinese boats. The idea of managing the supply came behind to take more fish out of the waters than their competitors were.

Today the size of the Chinese fishing fleet is 2,600 vessels with the United States only having 10% of that number. These boats are technologically advanced and are able to deplete fish stocks at a rapid rate. With the Chinese population remaining so high there appears to be no end in sight for the pressure that is constantly being put on the Ocean’s stocks of fish.

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