Overfishing has depleted fish populations all over the world. Up to 90% of the big fish (those commonly consumed by humans) in the oceans have already disappeared. Armed with advanced sonar and trawling nets, fishing vessels prowl the oceans, and if this goes on, all stocks of sea fish will collapse by 2048.

Now, to meet the human needs, fish farms are growing at an alarming rate. In 1970s only 5% of the fish we ate were grown in farms. Now, it is 50%. In India, intensive fish farms stock and breed carps, tilapia, catfish, bhetki and different prawns. The fish are stocked densely in small tanks or ponds of filthy water, where diseases and mortality are frequent. Moreover, farm raised fish are often fed fish meal from wild-caught (so called non-commercial) fish. This leads to uncontrolled overfishing in the oceans. For example, 35 kg of wild caught fish is needed to raise a Bhetki fish to 1 kg.

Most of the fish farms use lime, bleaching powder, ammonia and urea for treating the water before stocking the fish. Fungicides, pesticides, growth enhancing hormones and nutritional supplements are added liberally. And after the fish harvest, the water is drained off into the nearby canals and water bodies.

Did You Know?

pic01_fishTableFishes are capable of feeling pain, fear and psychological stress. Scientific evidences show that they are far more intelligent than we thought. They possess social structures and long term memories and can respond to stimuli like music. Some of them can even use tools. When pulled out from the depths of the ocean, fish undergo excruciating decompression that ruptures their swim bladders and pops out their eyes.

 

 

pic02_fishTable_HeistFish nets not only catch targeted fish, but also trap a lot of non‐target species and fish below the catch size. These creatures, termed as bycatch, include turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays and even seabirds. Most of the bycatch are dead by the time the nets are hauled and the poor things are thrown overboard. About 100 million sharks and rays, 300,000 cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and 100,000 seabirds are killed every year as bycatch. The number of smaller fishes, crabs and shrimps are not even estimated.

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