Overfishing has become a global crisis.
Overfishing occurs when more sea or river life, mainly fish, is removed for consumption than the population can replenish, resulting in dwindling populations. When a species’ population in a given location, referred to as a “fish stock,” falls below a certain threshold, it might collapse and vanish.
One main reason for overfishing is that the global demand for fish has increased significantly over the past 50 years. Due to rising wealth and a growing population, is projected to double by 2050.
Governments, international organizations, and non-profit organizations from all around the world are working to combat overfishing. Most governments, however, have failed to implement or are unwilling to implement these limits due to political and economic self-interests.
Việt Nam has one of the world’s fastest-growing fishing fleets, having grown by more than 160 percent between 1990 and 2018. Overfishing and rapid depletion of fish populations have resulted from the increase in the number of fishing vessels.
With failed policies in the past and present, Việt Nam will need to reconsider and come up with fresh innovative solutions in the near future.
However, we must acknowledge that Việt Nam is not alone in dealing with this issue. It is a highly complex issue that must be resolved through regional and international cooperation.
So, what can be done to help? Here’s what governments can do:
- Impose quotas to restrict the number of fish hauled. It is important for them to regularly monitor such activity, which often does go unnoticed.
- Carry out restocking which entails breeding fish in captivity and then releasing them back into their natural habitats.
- Fishing nets can be regulated to have a certain minimum size for their gaps so that small fish can escape and survive to reproduce. The size can also be made specific to the particular species that is being targeted to prevent other species from being caught.
- Pursuing innovative approaches in improving the living standards of fishermen is essential for reducing their dependence on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Currently more than half of Southeast Asia’s inhabitants rely on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods and the same can be said for Việt Nam.
- Introducing high technology to optimize existing monitoring systems is essential in tracing IUU fishing.
- To combat overfishing Việt Nam needs to reduce the number of small fishing vessels.
- More funds and resources should be allocated to research and development by the Vietnamese government.
Let’s all play a part and here’s what we can do:
- Choose certified sustainable seafood. Seafood with the blue fish tick can be traced back to a sustainable fishery. By purchasing MSC-certified sustainable seafood for home or your organization, you’re helping to incentivize sustainable fishing practices as well as ensuring seafood forever.
- Reduce food waste and learn better ways to cook and store seafood. One of the solutions to tackling the climate crisis is simply: ‘consume less’. By being mindful and planning our meals for the week, lowering portion sizes, being creative with our cooking, and storing and labeling our food in the fridge or freezer, we can cut down on our waste.
- Encourage the next generation to think and act sustainably. We can only hope to modify our own behavior and the behavior of other adults. But if we can instill positive values into the next generation and our future leaders, then we’re securing their future as well as our own.
When too many fish are taken out of the ocean it creates an imbalance that can erode the food web and lead to a loss of other important marine life, including vulnerable species like sea turtles and corals. In addition, overfishing also impacts humans and the job market. Many people rely on fishing as their means of income. Hopefully, one day we are able to overcome this issue and operate at a sustainable level.