What Happens If Fish Go Extinct?
Too many fish species are in danger of going extinct in the near future. Years of overfishing, pollution, and harmful human activity brought us to this point.
What happens if fish go extinct? It would lead to major repercussions, affecting marine life as well as all forms of life including humans. Fish extinction would cause changes in the weather, disruption of aquatic ecosystems, poverty, hunger, economic losses, and overall chaos.
A Must-Read: Fishing Gifts For Men
This article will help you understand just how serious a problem this is. I will discuss exactly what will occur if all fish go extinct. Unfortunately, it can happen in the next decade. Aside from this, I will also talk about what needs to happen to turn the situation around.
Consequences Of Fish Extinction
It may not seem like a big deal at first, but if fish go extinct, we will also suffer. If all species of fish disappear, this will affect the environment, the economy, and our health.
These are explained in more detail below:
The Collapse Of Aquatic Ecosystems
Oceans are ecosystems, and every living and nonliving being is equally important in maintaining equilibrium. Losing all fish would disrupt the entire food chain as some animals feed solely on fish and seafood.
The land animals who eat them would then also lose a food source. As more animals starve, this will keep going until it affects everyone at the top of the chain, including humans.
Marine creatures control pollution in our waters, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do. Fish and aquatic animals help filter toxins and harmful chemicals in the ocean.
They can no longer do this once they are extinct. It will lead to even more pollution in our water, air, and land.
The air quality will decrease as plenty of aquatic plants are equally responsible for making up the oxygen we breathe. With fewer plants performing photosynthesis, we will also have less oxygen.
Changes In The Weather
The Earth’s water cycle does not only rely on bodies of water but also on aquatic creatures. Without sea animals like fish, oceans will become dirty and toxic. As a result, rainfall might be affected.
We could experience acid rain that will kill even more animals and plants in the water and on land.
Loss Of Livelihoods
In many countries, fishing is a large industry that powers their economies. For instance, fishing is one of the main livelihoods in places like Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Once fish disappears from the oceans, so will the jobs of millions of workers in this industry. That includes fishers, boat captains, factory and canning workers, market vendors, as well as corporate employees.
The loss of seafood would lead to an economic collapse across the globe.
Mass Food Shortages
Fish extinction will be devastating for many populations who consume seafood. People who cannot afford poultry or meat rely on fish for their everyday sustenance.
Some are also allergic to other foods and can only eat fish. Other people are pescatarians and do not eat meat by choice.
If this becomes a reality in 2050, a lot of people will go hungry. It may result in widespread famine, malnutrition, poverty. We might also see a decline in health and a rise in different illnesses.
The Collapse Of Civilization
I know this sounds extreme. However, considering all of the possible effects of fish extinction, this is not too far off. Civilization is surprisingly fragile, and the more we destroy the planet, the more we hinder our progress.
It is evident that our current practices are not sustainable at all. Something needs to change so that we can save our oceans, marine life, and human life.
Fishing Quotas And Regulations
There are already some regulations in place. The problem is that they are not being enforced enough or not even enforced in the first place. Some of these rules only exist on paper to disguise the fact that government authorities are not taking action.
These laws should be strictly implemented, and fishing companies need to be monitored.
Aside from the existing regulations, we also need updated ones. The situation has changed since these were approved, and we need to be more aggressive in combating fish extinction.
It can be accomplished by imposing quotas on the number of fishing vessels allowed to operate. Commercial fishers should also have a quota on the number of fish they catch, and what species they can catch.
Aquaculture refers to fish farming or raising fish in captivity. Many wild fish species are endangered so that aquaculture can be a temporary sustainable alternative. Farming fish instead of catching fish in the wild may allow ecosystems to replenish for the time being.
It would also provide more affordable food sources. It is cheaper to farm fish than it is to capture them in the wild. So, fisherfolk can sell them for much lower prices.
Aquatic ecosystems must be protected at all costs to prevent further damage, especially the most vulnerable ones. To do this, we can set up marine reserves or protected areas.
In these reserves, the catching of fish will be strictly prohibited. It has to be done for the ecosystem to heal and return to its original state.
To have a healthy and balanced ecosystem, there should be enough biodiversity. Authorities can start programs with this goal in mind. If there are areas that have experienced species extinction or endangerment, they could be beneficiaries of this program.
Nondestructive Fishing Methods
Since we will continue to eat seafood, the least we could do is employ safe fishing methods. Blast fishing and cyanide fishing are already illegal, but some vessels still use them.
There needs to be a crackdown on these fishing companies. It aligns with the first proposed solution, which is to have better regulations.
Fish going extinct will have devastating effects on humanity, and it could happen sooner than we think. That is why we need to act as early as now. It is in our best interest to protect marine life and reverse the damage that we have caused.