It’s no secret that the fishing industry is in trouble and need of help. Overfishing has caused stocks of popular fish to dwindle so they need help. Moreover, and as a result, fishermen are forced to venture into increasingly dangerous waters. Especially to find their catch. What’s more, the methods used to harvest fish often have a devastating impact on marine ecosystems. Thankfully, there are things that consumers can do to help. Here are seven pieces of advice on sustainable fishing.
1. Avoid Bycatch
One of the biggest problems with commercial fishing is bycatch-the unintended capture of other marine creatures along with the target fish. Bycatch can include anything from dolphins and seabirds to sharks and turtles. It’s estimated that for every 1 ton of shrimp caught, up to 20 tons of other animals are killed as bycatch.
When buying seafood, look for products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is a global nonprofit organization that sets standards for sustainable fishing. Products that carry the MSC’s blue eco-label are guaranteed to have been harvested in a way that minimizes bycatch.
2. Choose the Right Fishing Spots
Some areas are more heavily fished than others, so the fish populations in these areas are under more significant pressure. To help preserve fish stocks, consider fishing in less popular areas. This will help to ensure that the fish you catch are from healthy populations. You can also help to preserve fish stocks by practicing catch-and-release fishing. It involves carefully returning the fish you catch to the water unharmed.
Nowadays, you can research fishing grounds online before leaving for your trip. This helps to ensure that you’re fishing in an appropriate area for the type of fish you’re hoping to catch. In search of the best fishing spots near me, consider an aspect such as distance. The last thing you want is to travel before reaching your fishing waters. Besides, think of the type of fishing and fish which take place.
It’s estimated that as much as 40% of the fish caught each year are discarded, either dead or dying. This is known as “discard mortality,” a significant problem in the fishing industry. One way to help reduce mortality is to catch fish for food. If you catch a fish you’re not going to eat, release it carefully into the water. This way, you can help to ensure that the fish you catch are used responsibly and not wasted.
3. Adhere to the “Good Fish Guide”
The Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Good Fish Guide is an invaluable tool to help you go sustainable shopping. The guide rates different types of fish according to their sustainability, with green being the most sustainable and red being the least.
When in doubt, choose fish rated as “green” or “amber” by the MCS. These include species such as herring, mackerel, and place. Avoid fish rated as “red,” such as bluefin tuna and Atlantic cod. It discourages the overfishing of endangered species and helps to ensure that the fish you’re eating is from healthy populations.
4. Support Sustainable Fisheries
If you want to make a difference, you can support the people doing it right. This is by buying seafood directly from them. This ensures that your money goes towards supporting good fishing practices.
You can find sustainable fisheries in your area by checking out the website of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. The site has a list of sustainable seafood suppliers and a handy app you can use when shopping for seafood. It encourages the growth of sustainable fisheries and helps ensure that the seafood you’re eating comes from an environmentally responsible source.
5. Educate Yourself About the Issues
One of the best things you can do to help the environment is to be an information-seeker. The more you know about the fishing industry’s problems, the better equipped you’ll be to make responsible choices about the seafood you eat.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) website is a great place to start, a leading nonprofit organization that works to protect the environment. The EDF has a wealth of resources on its website, including articles and videos on sustainable fishing.
You can also stay up-to-date on the latest news about the fishing industry by following environmental organizations on social media. The EDF, for example, has an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
6. Consider the Environmental Impact of Your Fishing Gear
The type of fishing gear you use can also affect the environment. Some types of gear, such as bottom trawls, are particularly destructive to delicate seafloor habitats. When choosing fishing gear, opt for gear that is less likely to damage the environment. For example, consider using a line or pole instead of a bottom trawl.
This will help to minimize the impact of your fishing on the delicate ecosystem. It’s why buying quality supplies is essential. Not only does it reduce waste, but it also helps the environment in general. Use also an environmentally-friendly watercraft such as an electric boat. This helps in the reduction of noise and water pollution.
7. Prevent Ocean Waste From Plastic Netting
Mass amounts of plastic pollution yearly end up in the world’s oceans. This pollution comes from various sources, including fishing nets that are lost or discarded at sea. You can help to reduce ocean pollution by disposing of your fishing gear responsibly.
If you lose a fishing net, report it to the proper authorities. You can also help reduce ocean pollution by choosing fishing gear from sustainable materials, such as nylon or polyethylene. These materials are less likely to end up as ocean pollution.
Fishing nets aren’t the only fishing gear that can pollute the oceans. Fishing lines, lures, and other tackle can also become ocean pollution. To help reduce this type of pollution, always dispose of your fishing gear properly. Please don’t leave it behind on the beach or in the water. If you can’t find a trash can, pack it out with you and dispose of it when you get home.
Sustainable fishing practices are essential for the future of our oceans. By following the advice above, you can help to ensure that fish populations remain healthy and that the impact of your fishing on the environment is minimized. Sustainable fishing practices benefit everyone, so make sure to do your part.