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The scourge of fishing gear and how we can do beterre to stop this alarming crisis

Finishing is part of the culture in many countries. For example, my grandmother lived close to a river in the South of Colombia and it was very beautiful indeed. Her son used to go early in the morning to get fish for lunch. For them, it was like a sport as they used traditional tools made of wood. However, far from this happy souvenir and from those sustainable methods, fishing has become a massive industry. This practice also known as “overfishing” is devastating for our oceans. It is also the biggest threat to marine biodiversity. Indeed, it’s not just about plastic pollution, it’s also about affecting the ecosystem. The documentary “seaspiracy” was an eye-opener for me and it made me realize the impact of this industry.

Scientific data

“At least half of […ocean plastic waste] is not consumer plastics, which are central to much of the current debate, but fishing gear.” highlights George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy.

Indeed, according to Greenpeace, more than 640.000 tonnes of nets, lines and traps used in commercial fishing are dumped and discarded in the sea every year. These abandoned fishing gear – also known as “ghost gear” – caused and still cause death to marine species. For example, 300 sea turtles were found dead, entangled in ghost gear off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.”

In total, they believe that fishing gear such as nets, traps and lines make up 10% of ocean plastic pollution.

Small steps

Of course, daily habits are super important. For instance, adopting a minimalist lifestyle and refusing single-use plastics are the first move to make.

Even if, obviously we are not the biggest culprits responsible for this plastic crisis, we can make efforts to reduce our consumption of meat, but also fish. Also, it’s better to buy from small producers that will respect the marine environment and practice sustainable fishing.

Still, how can we do beterre and stop this industrial fishing gear from polluting our waters in the first place?

Do beterre

First, you can share this article and help to raise awareness about this topic. You can also ask your friends to watch seaspiracy so they become aware too about the damages caused by overfishing which is destroying the ecosystem. For example, I learned that almost half (more precisely 46%) of the plastic waste in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch came from fishing gear.

Then, as they say, as long as consumers are still buying, they will not realize, nor they will try to fix this plastic crisis. And, because of the high demand of fishes, dolphins are slaughtered. The more we keep consuming fish, the more they will keep destroying marine life until there’s nothing left.

So, we can reduce our consumption to draw the attention of the massive industry. Because if we really aim at reducing plastic pollution in the oceans, the practice of fishing is the issue we need to tackle first.

And of course, if you want to stop eating fish and drop it from your menu it’s your choice and only yours.

References

https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/latest-news/marine-debris-plastic-fishing-gear/ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/06/dumped-fishing-gear-is-biggest-plastic-polluter-in-ocean-finds-report

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