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Definition and Effects of International Whaling and Fishing

Whaling: Whaling is the harvesting of free-roaming whales from the oceans and dates back to at least 6,000 BC. Whaling and other threats have led to at least 5 of the 13 great whales being listed as endangered.Commercial whaling is subject to a moratorium by the International Whaling Commission. However, at the 2006 IWC meeting, the St Kitts and Nevis Declaration, which protests the moratorium, was adopted by a slim majority.

Fishing: Fishing is the activity of hunting for fish by hooking, trapping, or gathering. By extension, the term fishing is applied to pursuing other aquatic animals such as various types of shellfish, squid, octopus, turtles, frogs, and some edible marine invertebrates. The term fishing is not usually applied to pursuing aquatic mammals such as whales, where the term "whaling" is more appropriate. Fishing is an ancient and worldwide practice with various techniques and traditions and it has been transformed by modern technological developments. In addition to providing food through harvesting fish, modern fishing is both a recreational and professional sport.

English perspective

The Effects of over fishing on Other Wildlife:
The over fishing of a particular species does not just damage the population of that fish alone. It can have serious effects further up the food chain. Herring is a vital prey species for the cod. Therefore, when herring are over fished the cod population suffers as well. The sand eel is the main food for seabirds such as the puffin. Sand eels have been fished around the Shetland Islands since the mid-1970s, though catches were declining throughout the 1980s. At the same time, the colonies of seabirds nesting around Shetland declined, with some even falling to breed for several years.
In the Antarctic, fishing for krill is threatening to disrupt the delicate balance of nature in these waters. Krill are small, red shrimps, about 6cm long, found in huge numbers in areas of plant plankton, and they make up a significant part of the animal plankton. Krill occur in huge swarms many kilometres across, and it has estimated that there could be up to 650 million tonnes of them in the Antarctic Ocean.
What can be done?
Properly maintained fisheries could and should be a renewable and possibly even endless supply of protein. At present, short-term economic pressures are preventing sensible long-term planning for a sustainable yield (only taking out as many fish as can be replaced by reproduction the following year.)
The ‘Cod War’ and Other Over fishing Incidents
A serious dispute broke out between British and Icelandic fishermen over the Icelandic cod fisheries. British trawlers continued to fish for cod despite a ban on fishing put into place by the Icelandic government, and there were confrontations between British and Icelandic trawlers, which became known as the “Cod War’.
There is now a 100-mile exclusion zone around Iceland, in which foreign boats are not allowed to fish, so Icelandic cod stocks are starting to improve, though it is unlikely that they will ever recover fully.

On the Dagger Bank, off the east coast of England near Great Yarmouth, over fishing caused the annual catch of herring to fall 30-fold in just 15 years. By 1966, only 10,000 tonnes of the fish were caught in the whole year. Further north, a ban was placed on herring fishing, and in 1977, a total ban was placed on herring fishing, throughout the North Sea. The ban lasted for six years.
These are just a few examples of how over fishing can seriously affect not only the fish stocks, but also the livelihoods of many people who depend on fishing as a job. There is a delicate balance to be struck between catching large numbers of fish so as to make more money and ensuring that there are enough fish left alive to be able to replenish stocks for future years. It is human nature to try to make as much money as possible, but this has to be weighed against the economic hardship that whole communities have suffered as a result of overexploiting their own fisheries, not to mention the grave consequences of over fishing for fish populations.
The Problems of Over fishing
Most of the problems associated with over fishing have been caused in the last 50 years by the rapid advances in fishing technology. There used to be hundreds of trawlers and fishing boats based at ports like Peterhead, Grimsby and Great Yarmouth, but these have now been replaced by huge factory ships which are able to stay out at sea for weeks at a time. These factory boats have all the equipment necessary either to freeze or tin fish caught by their hunting ships, so that they need to return to base only when their holds are full.
Quotas should be set on catches, based on scientific estimates for the size of the fish stock. Correct mesh size should be used in all nets to ensure that fish of the right age are caught, and to prevent as much as possible accidental catches of other fish. International agreements limiting catches are necessary to safeguard fish stocks for the use not only of humans but for marine animals as well. With these measures in place, fishing could continue without damaging stocks, and we could employ the world’s richest source of protein to everyone’s advantage.
With the introduction of the new factory boats, there was a 7% growth in catches every year during the 1950’s and 60’s, but since then there has been little increase in catch size, and at least 20 of the world’s most important fisheries have disappeared in the last 25 years, with many more suffering so badly from over fishing that they are unlikely to recover.
As catches have gradually become smaller, so the mesh sizes used in fishing nets have decreased, allowing smaller and smaller fish to be caught. Many of these are too small to be used as food, so they are crushed to be made into either animal food or fertiliser.
Fishing using nets is indiscriminate. Any fish which get in the way of the net will be caught in it if they are too big to get through the mesh. For every one tonne of prawns caught, three tonnes of other fish are killed and thrown away. 20,000 porpoises die each year in the nets of salmon fishermen in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and tens of thousands of dolphins are killed each year by tuna fishermen.

Canada perspective

Effects of Fishing
There are many consequences for over fishing. In Canada we have approximately 100 species of fish in Canadian waters with less then 200 hundred of these species living in fresh water. As of 2001 4 of the species within Canadian waters are thought to be extinct and 49 of the species are considered endangered or vulnerable to extinction. These species have all been effected due to numerous reasons, over fishing being one of the major causes. Two examples of over fishing are the blue pike from Lake Erie and the Lake trout from Lake Superior. Both these species of fish have had a population decrease due to over fishing.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the over fishing of cod in the Georges Bank between 1963 and 1986 caused a striking 44% catch drop in cod while the amount of dogfish catching (Predators of cod fish) went up a dramatic 39%. This is another major example of how fishing has caused drastic changes in the aquatic ecosystems. The over fishing of both great lakes and oceans has caused the reduction of many different species and the increase of others, to dangerous populations as an increase of a certain spieces can affect the aquatic ecosystem as well.

In the Pacific Ocean, there has been major fluctuations for the salmon, halibut, and herring species, all due to the over fishing.

The Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and all the great lakes have been over fished. This problem that is now becoming more and more apparent to us as a global community and is something that needs to be fixed. Through proper laws and regulations we need to control the amount of fish that can be fished and how often they can be fished so that each species has a chance to reproduce without the harm of extinction or endangerment.

Effects of Whaling
Whaling in Canada today is mainly done by the Inuit’s. They primarily hunt three species of whales, beluga, narwhal, and bowhead. The Inuit community catches approximately 800 beluga and narwhals annually and can catch even more as Canada is not part of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which regulates the amount of whales you can catch. As for the bowhead whales the Inuit community catches about 1 or 2 per year, however this year a license has now been a requirement to hunt bowhead whales.

Positives of Fishing and Whaling
Although there are many negative points to fishing and whaling there are also so major positives. For instances fishing is a major source of food for alot of countries as there are many different species of fish that are edible. On top of that Canada and the UK also using fishing and whaling to bring up their economy by trading or selling the fish/whale meat to other countries.

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