The commercial fishing industry and aqua farming are responsible for the suffering and deaths of trillions of fish worldwide. Experts predict if we don’t change our habits soon, our oceans will be fishless by 2048
These industries have devastating effects on the world’s fish population and the environment. The commercial fishing industry uses practices such as bottom trawling (where fishing boats drag huge nets across the floor of the ocean, scaring up fish and many other unintended victims and ecosystems from the depths) and longline fishing (where long fishing lines studded with multiple hooks are floated through the water to catch fish, but yet again catch more than they bargained for, including sea birds, turtles, and even whales).
Aqua farming is the other insidious side of the coin, where fish are confined together in small spaces. This practice leads to toxic water conditions for the fish in captivity that spread into the ocean—carrying antibiotics, pesticides, parasites, and feces. These dirty conditions are spread into the ocean, negatively affecting wild fish and oceans, as well as spreading to humans who consume any fish living in or around these circumstances. Aqua farming also closely coincides with the commercial fishing industry because the fish in captivity are fed smaller fish, leading to even more overfishing, a never ending cycle of death.
Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash
Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash
The commercial fishing industry catches 93.3 million tons of wild fish and aqua farming creates 48.1 million tons of fish in captivity, according to World Atlas.
According to Animal Equality, if the fishing industry continues their path of destruction on wild and farmed fish, our oceans will be void of fish by 2048.
The fishing techniques used in the industry not only catch and kill fish for food and sport, but also lead to unplanned injuries and death of other wildlife species and ecosystems in the ocean, dragging up dirt that damages coral reefs and blocks sunlight from reaching underwater plants.
The United Nations has estimated that 95% of global ocean damage is a direct result of bottom trawling.
Many wildlife species are also killed as “bycatch,” where they are scooped up into the huge nets intended for fish, and injured or killed in the process.
What Is HAP Doing About It?
Education and awareness about these issues are our first aim at HAP. Knowing how destructive the commercial fishing industry and aqua farms are to the lives of fish, other species, and ultimately, humans can be the push people need to reform and end the fishing industry’s practices.
Our first step is to educate the public of the inhumane treatment fish encounter when caught from the wild to be imprisoned in tiny tanks as pets or killed for food. Awareness is key while fighting for the lives of fish, who are capable of remembering past social interactions with other fish and show affection by rubbing up against one another.
Through our “Better for Betta Fish” campaign, we’re working with pet stores to stop the sale of betta fish as pets, leaving them in their natural habitat to thrive.
Our “No Plastic Please” campaign also benefits humans and fish (and other animals!) by reducing unnecessary single-use plastic waste. We hope to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans, eliminating risk to ALL species and keeping plastic from littering our communities and waterways.
How You Can Help
Choosing to eat a plant-based diet so as not to contribute to the suffering of all marine life is the main way to decrease the negative impact of the fishing industry on wild fish. Change starts with you! If there isn’t a demand for fish as food or ornamental decoration, the supply and terrible practices will decrease. Please help us in taking a stand against the fishing industry and senseless lives lost.
Learning about the horrors of the fishing industry and educating others about it can help. Help to educate pet stores where you see injured, sick, or abused fish if you feel comfortable doing so.
Your donation can also help us save fish from suffering or early death by funding us to educate and inspire the next generation on this important issue.