World's Fish Supply Running Out Essay

1598 words - 6 pages

Juliet Eilperin's Washington Post article, "World's Fish Supply Running Out", Researchers Warn reports an international group of ecologists bleak forecast for the future of fish. Overfishing, water pollution, harmful government subsidies and the resulting decrease in marine biodiversity is predicted to cause a catastrophic collapse of the ecosystem and fishing industry that depends on it. The author says that this report should be a wakeup call because of its potential effects on the global economy. Scientists are in disagreement as to whether the solution to this problem is applying restrictions on overfishing or increasing the amount of farmed fish. In fact, some scientists disregard this study as entirely inadequate and overly pessimistic. This article demonstrates that the fishing industry values fish for its market value, while hiding ecological problems and taking advantage of government subsidies to protect profits.The fishing industry has placed a price tag on fish and the entire water ecosystem. Market value ultimately determines the worth of this finite natural resource. The article states that fishing is an $80 billion a year industry and an intricate part of the global economy. The author quotes the vice president for the advocacy group National Environmental Trust, Gerald Leape, who reacted to the scientific report solely with concern for the economy. The article stresses that the implications of overfishing and pollution are an economic problem rather than an ecological crisis. Scientific data that indicates a bleak fate for the future of water ecosystems is followed by commentary on the economic outlook for the fishing industry. The value of marine life is determined by the amount of profit it produces. There is little focus on the importance of fish to the global ecosystem.The article gives fishery management officials the chance to confute the journal Science's published report on the declining fish population. Fishing industry representatives say that the findings do not apply to the United States and New Zealand because these nations have recently set limitations to prevent overfishing. If developed nations such as the United States and New Zealand are not responsible for overfishing, who is? It must be assumed that the rest of the world is causing these ecological problems. Placing blame on the global south allows Americans to feel guilt-free as they order the surf and turf. One trade group for seafood producers and suppliers, the National Fisheries Institute, flat out denied to study's results and said that "most wild marine stocks remain sustainable" (Eilperin 2). While Richard Ellis, the author of The Empty Ocean, clearly states that "fishes once believed to be immeasurable in number are now recognized as greatly depleted and in some cases almost extinct" (Clausen 429). Individuals who depend on the fishing market have it in their best interest to deny scientific data that could cause financial harm to the fishing...

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