Possibly the best solution to overfishing is to decrease the demand for fish. By spreading information about the detrimental effects of overfishing, more people may stop eating fish. This is extremely unlikely, however, as fish is a main dietary staple in many parts of the world. Thus, there are several other possible solutions to the overfishing problem.


Global harvest of aquatic organisms in million tonnes, 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO

Global harvest of aquatic organisms in million tonnes, 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms. It constructs aquatic ecosystem by stocking organisms, feeding them, and protecting them from diseases and predators. This alleviates human-caused pressure on overexploited fisheries. However some scientists are concerned about the environmental problems it creates, such as the clean water needed to be pumped in and the waste water pumped out, the fish escaping and spreading diseases and creating competition for the wild fish. Overall though, this method seems promising.


The rapid decline of the salmon from 1940-1970 exemplified the problems overfishing can cause. In 1973, fishery managers introduced the system of individual transferable quotas (ITQ), also known as catch shares. At the starts of the salmon season, fishery managers establish a total allowable catch and distribute or sell these quotas to individual fishers and fishing companies. Fishers with ITQs have a secure right to catch their allotted quota, so there is no need for bigger boats or better equipment to outcompete others. If they cannot catch enough to remain economically viable, the fishers can sell all or part of their quota to another fisher. ITQs work for varying sizes. In Alaska, most of these ITQs were sold to small, family-run fishing operations. In New Zealand, ITQs are used effectively to control overfishing by large fishing companies.



1) Friedland, Andrew J., Rick Relyea, and David Courard-Hauri. Environmental Science: Foundations and Applications. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and, 2012. Print.



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