5.8 Impacts of Overfishing

2 min readjanuary 8, 2023


Mark Little

AP Environmental Science ♻️

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Overfishing is a major problem today. It is estimated by some that at least ⅓ of the world’s fisheries are in trouble.  Simply put, overfishing is catching way too many fish at one time. This depletes the populations so much that the breeding population left cannot reproduce enough fish to maintain the fish population. This can have negative impacts on marine ecosystems and the people and animals that depend on fish for food or livelihoods.
Overfishing can be caused by a variety of factors, including inadequate fishing regulations or quota laws, unsustainable fishing practices (methods of catching fish that cause waste or ecosystem harm), and increased demand for fish as a food source. Some of the negative impacts of overfishing include reduced fish catches, reduced biodiversity, and changes in the structure and function of marine ecosystems.
To address overfishing, it's important to implement sustainable fishing practices and regulations, such as catch limits and size limits, to ensure that fish populations are not overfished and can continue to support human and ecosystem needs.


Poor management and disagreements about who manages the fishing in the open ocean have led to overfishing.  Developing better management and fishing regulations or rights will help the long term health of the fishing waters. The overfishing goes back to the Tragedy of the Commons concept about learning not to overuse our natural resources.
Proper management of our aquatic fishery resources is critical for many people.  Maintaining proper biodiversity among fish populations is important for people who depend on fishing as a means of income or to catch their own food for survival.  
Certain methods of fishing (commercial) can produce more waste or environmental disruption due to things like large nets, gear, or even underwater traps.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

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