What is the Environmental Impact of Fishing?

A view of a fishery from overhead.
A view of a fishery from overhead.

The widening gap between the supply and demand of fish around the globe has raised concern for governments and non-governmental organizations. The environmental impacts of fishing are those activities that endanger the marine ecosystem and if not looked into the implications can cause extinction. The fish science programs have been trying to address these issues majorly through aquatic conservation programs. Over the years, the conflict between the people who fish for income and the scientists whose studies show the possibility of fish extinction has been one of the major setbacks to marine conservation.

Environmental Impacts of Fishing


Overfishing is usually brought about by the availability of many fish in the oceans and high demands for fish by the human population. According to research from Food Agriculture Organization, rare species of fish are extinct, and years from now, there will not be any fish to feed the ever-growing human population. Overfishing leads to depletion and overexploitation of fish, and in return this leads to disruption of life especially if the most fish being exploited are in a food chain this can cause an environmental crisis. Several fisheries biologists have tried to prove the negative impact of overfishing and according to them, there will be no fish in the oceans, lakes, and fishing ponds come the year 2050. Several organizations dismissed the idea allowing anglers to continue fishing since policies and laws to ban overfishing have not been enforced.


Bycatch is a term used to refer to the unwanted portion of fish taken from the water, which in most situations usually end up being thrown away. Bycatch is usually seen in commercial fishing but also in sport fishing. Bycatch can include undersized or juveniles of the target species as well as fish caught of a different species than the target species. Bycatch is harmful as more fish are being caught and removed from the oceans than allowed, and in many instances endangered species such as sharks, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles are also caught at bycatch.

Ecological Disturbance

Over-exploitation of the marine ecosystem can lead to various physiological and psychological problems to fish; these complications include increased levels of stress and injuries from the fishing activity such as from fishing hooks. Fishing activities lead to the disruption of the food in the marina where some marine species end up dying since they do not have enough to feed on.

Marine Pollution

The disposal of fishing materials after fishing like fishing nets and other debris causes danger to the aquatic creatures upon ingestion. If the fish become entangled in the nets this can cause injuries to their bodies and even death. Ghost nets are estimated to account for 10 percent of fish loss.


Practicing fish farming can help save fish and other marine creatures from extinction. It is the responsibility of the government to create awareness among people and encourage them to build fishing farms to save the lives of fish. The governmental and non-governmental organization can step up and enforce policies to guide and protect marine reserves and prevent practices that endanger the lives of fish in the waters.


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