Guest column: Overfishing poses threat to our oceans

Increasingly, it seems, environmental problems are dominating the news – plastic waste, illegal dumping, and toxic chemical contamination events are only a few of the issues we read about regularly.

But there is one important problem we rarely hear about- overfishing. Roughly 30 percent of commercially fished waters are now classified as “overfished,” meaning the breeding stock of an area becomes so depleted that the population cannot be replenished.

Commercial fishing, in which fish are caught in massive nets dragged through the ocean depths, is a $144 billion dollar industry supported by government spending and a consumer appetite for far more fish than we were eating 50 years ago. Indeed, over three billion people around the world rely on fish as their primary source of protein.

The result is that global fish stocks are dwindling, and many species of fish are being pushed close to extinction by overfishing, such as several types of cod, tuna, halibut and even lobster.