Over Fishing Econ

Oil and fish are two resources that are in great demand by the world. Oil is a non renewable recourse meaning once we use it all up it is gone. Although it will come back over millions and million of years, the time it takes to regenerate is so long we therefore classify it as gone for good when we use it all up. On the other hand fish is a renewable recourse and if we can use it at a sustainable rate it will never run out.
Oil is probably one of the most vital resources we have in this age and it supplies 40% of the world’s energy. Oil is used for almost everything. Oil is used to run cars, planes, buses, nearly all of your houses electricity, transport nearly all your food products, power each countries military force. As well as this oil is used in almost everything some way or another, for example it is used in asphalt which is used to make roads. Oil is also one of the primary ingredients for plastic and paints, think of the hundreds of plastic products in your household… Could you live without them? With the world’s population rapidly growing, more pressure is being placed upon oil supplies globally.
This demand for oil is concentrated in mainly in the USA, China and Japan. United States (As the chart to the right shows) uses up a whopping 25.2% of the worlds oil. But this does not mean that    USA is the biggest oil producing country, for example look at two of the worlds biggest old producers combined, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Combine they only demand 3% of the worlds oil supplies.
Fish is a valuable renewable recourse and is enjoyed globally in dishes ranging from cheap local fish and chips to expensive exotic species in soups. Fish is reasonably cheap and easy to get when you consider its nutritional value. Fish is an important dietary supplement for many people who cannot easy have access animal protein and nutrients. According to the FAO (1997), fish provides over 7 percent of animal protein in America, more than 9 percent in Europe, over 17 percent in Africa, 26 percent in Asia, and 22 percent in low-income food deficit countries, including China. This valuable food also provides livelihood for many workers in these developing nations. Without a proper education many workers require fishing to make money. The world’s fish supply is demanded in Europe and Asia. In order from most to least, these are the world’s biggest consumers of fish: Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Korea, Norway, Spain, Malta, Sweden, France then Thailand. The demand is placed on these countries because of their rich fishing tradition. For example for hundreds and in some cases for thousands of years they have eaten fish and is now embedded in their culture.
In Australia, there are bag and size limits on all fish, this is the same for America (Although different limits). It is enforced so that there is always a certain limit of each species they can catch. Different seasons sometimes enforce different bag limits so that the fish have time to reproduce and allow enough fish for the future. After the fish-breeding season you hopefully have thousands of juvenile fish which you don’t want all to be caught immediately, eventually those fish should too have the opportunity to breed themselves allowing more fish for generations to come. Additionally there are strict regulations on how much fish you can possess. In WA each person may have a maximum of:

  • 20 kilos of fillets or pieces of fish; or
  • 10 kg of fillets or pieces of fish plus one day’s bag limit of whole fish; or
  • Two days’ bag limit of whole fish.

This enforces that the local community are not over fishing Australia, unfortunately we cannot control fish migrating routes and therefore if the migrate out of our territorial protection then they can be captured by people choosing to destroy our future and oceans ecosystems. Australia prides itself in educating our children all about fish and their sustainability. As part of primary school curriculum, many schools educate their students by taking them on a fishing trip down to a local jetty in which a designated fishing expert explains about fish sizes and bag limits.
Another effective way of protecting fish from fishers and providing a natural safe haven for fish is by making an “Artificial Reef”. There are several different methods to this such as sinking an old oil rig or ship, placing “reef balls” under the ocean in which corals and sea plants strive off, placing old tires and other human objects and also building the reef underwater with bricks and waiting for coral to grow on it. This can be used for the good of the fish and the people. For example a very famous WA beach, cable beach, has in fact been artificially developed over time. This means the fish get a safe haven and the people of the area get better surfing and a better beach. Although sometimes playing with the environment can have its bad effects on the environment as well just like what happened in California on Osborne reef. BARNIC placed around 2 million tires around the area and the tires were bound together with 36 steel clips. Ultimately, almost no marine life has been successful in latching onto the man-made reef and the majority never even had the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately no-one tested that the steel would not erode under the water and the steel links broke releasing 2 million tires into the local habitat wrecking havoc.
All around the world and particularly in China, many of the other LEDCs and surprisingly Denmark , The Netherlands and Germany a form of fishing known as Bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is an inhumane fishing method in which a large net gets carried along the bottom of the ocean floor ripping up everything in existence from the homes of the fish (the coral) to dolphins and sharks. From this fish and their habitat are being depleted because even if a fish does survive the trawler, their entire habitat is ruined for good. The united nations are completely against this and attempting to make this act illegal itself.
An example of good management of oil is in Japan where they place a highway tax on anyone wanting to use the highways and freeways and have a very efficient public transport system. In doing this the amount of people that can rely of public transport is greatly increased and the amount of people that drive to work every day is greatly reduced. Additionally they provide public train transport as an easy alternative for car travel in almost all aspects. For example when traveling longer trips by train, many of the trains have family train cars in which children have a play area on the actual train (As seen to the right). Also their train systems extend not only to a general location but it is so advanced almost every suburb in Japan and in particular Tokyo is connected to the railway somehow.
Another good example of oil management is fuel efficient cars. The fuel efficiency of a car is defined by 2 ways. Quote from Wikipedia:
“The two most common ways to measure automobile fuel economy are:

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  1. The amount of fuel used per unit distance; most commonly, litres per 100 kilometers (L/100km). Lower values mean better fuel economy: you use less fuel to travel the same distance.
  2. The distance traveled per unit of fuel used; most commonly, kilometers per litre (km/L) or miles per gallon (mpg). Higher values mean better fuel economy: you can travel farther for the same amount of fuel.”

For example 2 of the most fuel efficient cars are the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Falcon. The Toyota Corolla uses 7.3 Litres per 100km and the Ford Falcon uses 10.7. Which are quite fuel efficient comparing to the Land Rover Range Rover Vogue Supercharged which uses up 16 litres per 100km. To make this even worse some other models of this car use diesel fuel which is an even worse way to manage the oil.
Leading on, these Land Rovers and Jeeps are a terrible way to manage oil. These brands of cars guzzle the oil down and are not at all fuel efficient. These American/British made brands are the “coolest way to ride” in America which is a terrible thing because it’s bad enough having these kind of cars on the market but when the world has millions of them the oil gets guzzled down.
Another terrible waste of oil are oil spills. Not only do the completely and utterly destroy the local environment they can waste up to 2000000 barrels of oil in a spill. This kills any local ocean marine life, requires million and millions of dollars to clean up and is a waste of oil.
In Nigeria the oil crisis has become a terrible burden upon the country. The government gets 80% of its total revenue from oil and none from taxes meaning there is no need to support the citizens. There are no schools, hospitals or any government facilities, leading the country into a crisis.
The countries money is being taken by western companies and the rich of the country who control the oil. On average according to just ‘recorded’ statistics there is one oil spill in Nigeria everyday and officials say that the number could be higher at even 1.5 or 2 per day if the number was accurate. This is polluting the local environment severely and if it doesn’t kill the fish it makes the stay away from that area.
Many of the locals used to depend upon fishing and other aquaculture as a primary source of income but in recent years with the frequent oil spills and the polluted ocean and water, especially around the river delta, a key place for homes of the poor, made it impossible to catch fish. Therefore the only place to catch fish was in the deeper oceans where much more powerful engines were needed and the village locals didn’t have the money to pay for them.
Due to the lack of money and the oil being taken by the westerners many local militias have formed to rebel against the westerners and their own country causing corruption and civil war. It is not uncommon for a westerner to become hostage and held for ransom to the oil companies’ expenses. This is not the only kind of crime that is committed, many murders of local military and local oil leaders is also common. This is all because the oil companies come in, take all the oil, pollute all the land and kill of the locals livelihood by destroying the environment meaning the locals get no money and then they leave with all the countries money.
Aquaculture involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures or nets, usually for food. In using this form of fishing, there are a lot of benefits and a lot of negatives. Bluefin Tuna is a very large fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific and are becoming extremely over fished. In the Mediterranean and in Mexico tuna ranching has become a way for the fish to grow faster apparently taking pressure off the fishing populations. Tuna ranching has already proven to take a small amount of pressure of wild stocks according to Gines Medez (President of Atunes de Mazarron in Murcia, Spain). A fisherman these days receives 7x more revenue from each tuna than he did 15 years ago. Therefore his justification for the large amount of other fish needed to generate one tuna is that if you are able to generate 1 euro of bait into enough food for a more expensive fish to live, then it is business and worth doing. Even if it is slightly relieving tuna catch numbers, from what we know from 1998, the tuna population has decreased by 80%. Although tuna farming or ranching does have a future in regenerating tuna stocks currently they are not providing a real solution because they are not growing tuna on the farms. The tuna are being caught from the wild and being fattened on the farm. They are still digging into the wild population of the tuna.
Tuna is not the only carnivorous fish that requires other fish to survive in a fish farm. All carnivorous fish need to eat other fish if they want to survive in a fish farm. Formulated pellets are fed to the fish and are comprised of grain, fishmeal and fish oil. Most fishmeal is comprised of anchovies, sardines, capelin, and sand eels which are all bi-catch from sea floor trawling. This means that sea floor trawling is indirectly supported by aquaculture. Additionally some of the fish that are used in the pellets may be endangered or over fished themselves. At the rate we are going at fishmeal and fish bait will be depleted by 2030. Of course many agricultural animals eat other animals to be able to grow much like these fish. But for 1kg of Atlantic salmon you need 15kg of other fish species. For 1kg of chicken you need 2kg of other animals and for beef you would need 5kg of other animals for 1kg of beef.
The amount of other fish that is needed is not the only problem occurring in these Fish farms. Another major problem is that the fish that are supposed to roam the open seas for days on end are being trapped in small cages and for many lucky fish, they get 1 bathtub worth of space (This is for a large Atlantic tuna) and if unlucky it maybe less. This over crowding causes a rapid spread of disease and sea lice creating an unhealthy atmosphere in the fish farms.
Despite a lot of negativity towards aquaculture there are many highly successful and healthily running fish farms all around the world. These are fish farms that run a fish farm for herbivorous fish and mollusks. Unlike carnivorous fish, which need a fish-based food supply; herbivores can be fed a diet based on plant materials which do not deplete fish numbers while shellfish simply filter the surrounding water for their nutrients. In China many types of fish farming of freshwater herbivorous fish and shellfish take place in local rivers. On the larger scale many areas of the yellow sea have been designated to farm shellfish. Although there are still a few aspects to do with disease and over crowding of these fish, as china is a very rural based country they have a very smart way of keeping the fish at the same time as managing their rice fields. The rice fields are integrated with fish ponds and so agricultural wastes from the fields feed the fish, and waste from the ponds fertilizes the fields. The advantage of this is that small families can do this by themselves at home or larger groups of people can do it on a farm.
Aquaculture is most defiantly a requirement to keep on eating fish in the future and it is growing more and more important everyday. Unfortunately most of the world is not rural based like China and cannot easily come up with solutions to aquaculture. As the future goes, many scientists believe that aquaculture is the future of farming and we need to come up with new methods to sustain the fish beyond our basic aquaculture. Some of these ideas are adequate suggestions like building massive fish cages and letting a large group of tuna have time to reproduce then take the adults and wait for the juveniles to reproduce. The problem is, some species of tuna do not start breeding until maturity which can take a fair while. At the moment aquaculture has a future in our fishing industry but in the form it is in now, it is not the answer.
David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Brian J. O’Neill and Sheila Kopaska-Merkel
[WWW Document]
Friday, June 20, 1997
Petroleum-Arkansas Geological Survey
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[WWW Document]
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[WWW Document]
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[WWW Document]
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[WWW Forum]
Forum Thread (constant update)
Fish to 2020: Supply and Demand in Changing Global Markets
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[WWW document]
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[WWW document]
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[WWW Document]
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[WWW Document]
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Scientific Facts on fisheries
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007 2:45:30 AM
Supply and demand: World oil markets under pressure
Australian Marine Conservation Society
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Sunday, 11 November 2007 9:40:15 PM
Greenpeace (Many aspects of the website)
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