By: Rodrigo Gámez
Issues on fishing have emerged as an important topic afflicting our country and the current world.
Our fishing sector is dealing with serious conflicts and limitations. Its solutions demand a great comprehension of the local and global situation regarding the natural marine resources and the functioning of the ecosystems that generate them.
Fishing, especially marine fishing, has been traditionally seen as a free resource to our disposition. Marine fishing has also been seen as something to take unlimited advantage of, sometimes restricted only by the available technology. What we can obtain from it for our consumption depends only on our effort.
Scientific studies done around the planet (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) show that at many seas the natural capacity of recovery has been surpassed.
Fishing has come to such a limit that the commercial species of greatest interest can't reproduce normally and recover to a level that allows sustainable ‘'crops'' on time.
Every time small fishing fleets capture less volumes, regardless of the fact that technology is more advanced everyday.
Data show that it was at the 80's when the captured amount of fish in metric tons reached a peak. Since then, quantities have been declining.
Nonetheless, the demand of fish is greater and it is growing more every time, which naturally aggravates the situation.
It is estimated that at some seas the available marine resource for fishing is less than a tenth and even a hundredth of what it was before the introduction of technical industrial fishing.
This is a very serious problem at a global level, not only because of the ecological and economical aspects but the dietary aspect, since fish is one of the most important protein sources.
We need to understand that the decrease of fishing resources is an additional deplorable result of the alteration that human beings are provoking to the planet's natural resources.
Fishing at the seas is the equivalent of hunting at the forests. If we exceed the capacity of animal's reproduction, sooner or later we will end with the species since they cannot reproduce due to the demand of their predators.
What's the solution to the problem? First of all we need to recognize that there is a limit in the natural resources' exploitation. Nature gave us assets that we like it or not, need to learn how to manage correctly. In addition we need to have a sustainable balance in order to obtain what we need but taking care of all the resources.
This will only be possible if every sector in society agree on how to use in a smart way, the extraordinary natural resources given to us.
Credits: El Financiero, September 11 th 2006, Article: “Pesca: Recurso decreciente” (‘'Fishing: Decreasing Resource'').