Marine scientists and fishermen say that popular fish species — especially the large and valuable ones — have been caught indiscriminately, causing numbers to plunge dramatically.
For big fish “ finding a mate is a
difficult task. They have to swim a long distance to find one,” said Edward
Allison from the World Fish Centre in
One of the culprits is bottom trawling, which involves dragging huge, heavy nets along the sea floor. Large metal plates and rubber wheels attached to the nets move along the bottom and crush nearly everything in their path.
Allison said the habitat for young fish, or fry, is also shrinking because the mangrove swamps which provide food and protection are being obliterated by coastal development, including tourist resorts.
Demand for top-quality seafood, from southeast
Asian nations themselves and from Hong Kong and
According to World Fish data, there were 10 times more fish
There is little data from other countries without the
resources to carry out the studies, but World Fish believes the rate of decline
in those three countries is reflected across
Allison said the use of dynamite and cyanide to fish in
coral reefs, common in
He urged enforcement authorities to adopt conservation measures such as encouraging the use of hook and line traps that net only targeted fish, and aquaculture to produce popular species.
“ The aquatic system is quite resilient and they can recover if we can remove some of the pressures. What is needed is the political will and motivation to do so,” he said.