What is Overfishing and Could it Be the Biggest Threat to Our Environment?

By Coty Perry, Managing Editor, Your Bass Guy, USA

July 17, 2022

The commercial fishing industry is one of the biggest in the world bringing in over $144 billion dollars per year. As millions of ships sail the seas each day, they continue to find that it’s actually harder to catch fish than it was in years past.

There are a handful of reasons for this with overfishing being one of the most significant driving factors behind a depleted fish population. We hear about different issues plaguing our environment everyday. Turn on the news and you’ll hear about plastic waste, global warming, electric cars, environmental policy, forest fires, and much more.

One issue I guarantee you probably never heard of is overfishing and how dangerous it is. We’re eating more fish than ever before, we’re fishing using more boats than ever before, we have more money poured into the fishing industry than ever before, but do you think the fish are reproducing faster than ever before?

Of course not.

So how can the fish maintain their population when we continue to pull more and more of them out of the water each year? The truth is, they can’t and that’s the issue at hand.

There are 460 fish stocks across the planet and 323 of them are overfished. This means that the majority of places in the world where we catch the fish we eat are fished to the point where we’re catching them faster than they can reproduce. 

What Causes Overfishing?

Why are we allowing this and why has it been a problem for so long? Can’t we just slow down or move to a different area and catch fish there? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and there are a lot of powers in place that don’t want to see that happen. The almighty dollar reigns supreme in many cases and it’s the main driving factor behind overfishing.

Understanding Subsidies

Subsidies are the main reason for overfishing. Of course, if we need more fish, people are going to catch more because there is money involved. I understand that.

The problem is, the governments of the world are pumping billions of dollars into megaship operations that are simply traveling across the globe, soaking up all the resources and leaving nothing for the communities that have fished there sustainably for hundreds of years.

The result causes these small fisheries to put in more work to catch less fish while the large ships reap the rewards and are able to undercut the small fishing families in price because of how fast they’re able to catch fish.

This creates an unfair advantage worldwide with countries like China and the United States being the biggest offenders.

Keep in mind that the governments of the world who are responsible for funding this bad behavior are also the ones that exist to prevent it. Government regulation on commercial fishing is incredibly laxed because there’s a lot of money involved and it’s hard to enforce the rules when the ships are out at sea.

Consequences of Overfishing

The consequences of these actions are severe to say the least.

Ghost Fishing

Ghost fishing occurs when gear is abandoned overboard and left there for fish to die in. There are tens of thousands of sea turtles that die each year in the United States alone as a result of fishing nets.

Not to mention traps, hooks, fishing rods, and much more that are left in the water in places where these ships are not even permitted to fish legally. Keep in mind that these are not small items either. These are massive 10 foot by 10 foot fishing traps and trawling nets that can span for an entire mile.


What happens when you take a mile long net and tie it between two boats then scoop up everything in your path as you move through the water? You catch things that don’t belong in your net; things like precious wildlife. Wildlife like dolphins, turtles, and whales.

These animals are not intended to be caught but end up dying in the hands of commercial fishermen before they can get them back into the water. In many cases, they get them out of the net and back into the water but the trauma they endured is too much so they die a slow and painful death.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the issues to come. It’s even believed that as a result of overfishing, we may completely run out of seafood by the year 2048. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

Action must be taken now to spread awareness of this issue so more people can understand that it’s a serious threat to the food supply chain as well as environmental sustainability. When the fish are gone, they’re gone.

Strict regulation and technological advancements are the only way to hold commercial fishermen accountable for their actions. Share this article to spread awareness today!

This article was authored by Coty Perry, Managing Editor, Your Bass Guy, USA