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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Research Paper on the Environmental Effects of the Fisheries Industry

Research Paper on the Harmful Effects of the Fisheries Industry

When you dine in a fancy restaurant and order grilled lobster, baked scallops and caviar with your sparkling white wine you would seldom wonder how your favorite seafood would end up on your plate. From the sea to the market, it has been the fishing industry which has provided the consumers with the products of the seas and fresh bodies of water.

Fishing started during the ancient times. The seas, great lakes and rivers have always been a source of food for man. Fishing became a means of feeding the family and a form of livelihood. Catching more than their fill, the fishermen began to sell and trade from which the fishing industry had taken its roots. The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products and is not only limited to fish but other aquatic animals as well, such as molluscs, cephalopods, crustaceans, and echinoderms (“Fishing”).

In the past, men fished traditionally with the use of fish nets or fish traps. But now, man has learned more advanced techniques and methods making fishing more efficient, catching a greater number of fish with lesser labor. However, in developing countries, traditional fishing methods are still being practiced among fishermen who do small-scale fishing only. With the increasing human population, the demand for fish, fish products and other aquatic products has also increased. Such demand is what keeps the industry of fishing alive wherein they fill in the supply. To keep up with the demand, companies and other fishing groups have used more advanced techniques to increase their catch and it has a significant impact on the environment. Issues such as overfishing, use of harmful chemicals (e.g. cyanide fishing), marine species becoming endangered especially large marine mammals, smuggling, destruction of coral reefs through dynamite fishing and bottom trawling have surfaced.

According to the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, the ocean ecosystem is under extreme pressure because of the fisheries industry. Since the expansion of the fisheries sector during the 1970s and 1980s, nothing is being done to reduce over-fishing.

In the article Impacts of fishery activities, fishing can modify ecosystems, possibly altering or affecting the following components: the target source/species, the species associated with or dependent on the targeted resource, trophic relationships within the ecosystem in which the fishery operates; and habitats in which fishing occurs. Uncontrolled or overfishing of a target species may possibly endanger its population. When target species’ breeders are caught and not even the chance to spawn, how will they be able to produce the next generation of their kind to catch? With the drastic decrease in number of target species, their natural prey and predators may also be affected. The prey’s population will zoom up since the species that controls their number are no longer able to do so and the natural predators will have to look for other species to consume (thereby causing a change in trophic relationships) and if they are highly dependent on the target species as their major source of food then their numbers will decrease in number. Moreover, since fishing is not only about catching fish but processing as well, fish effluent and waste may contribute in the pollution of our waters.

Fishing will always be part and parcel of the world’s leading industries as long as man will continue to demand and consume aquatic products. It will do us no harm as long as the right balance is maintained. The fishing industry should always have in mind the concept of responsible fishing and the sustainability of our aquatic resources. If the seas, lakes and rivers are not exploited, nature has its own way of replenishing what was taken.

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Research Paper on the Cause and Effect of Water Pollution

Research Paper on the Cause and Effect of Water Pollution

Water comprises 71% of the earth’s surface. With vast oceans and seas, it is a common notion that there is plenty of water around for people to drink but in reality, drinking water is a rare commodity. According to Cain in the article “what percent of Earth is water?”, 97.5% of all the water on Earth is contained within the oceans, while the remaining 2.5% is freshwater lakes and frozen water locked up in glaciers and the polar ice caps – almost 69% of the fresh water on Earth is ice. Along with oxygen, water is the reason why our planet Earth can support life.

Despite the importance of water, humans have continued to pollute such important resource and now, we suffer the consequences of our actions. At present, water pollution is a serious threat to all of mankind. Yet, man continues to disregard the value of water.

Water pollution has many harmful effects. One major effect of water pollution is on human health. Dirty water is the culprit in water borne diseases such typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and other gastro-intestinal problems. Being dependent on water, animals could also contract diseases from polluted water. Marine life is also highly affected by water pollution in different ways, such as when heavy metals from industrial processes accumulate in bodies of water, it becomes toxic to fish and shellfish and later on to humans who consume them.

Water pollution has several causes. It can be due to natural causes such as erosion or volcanic eruption. However, there is a unanimous agreement that water pollution results mainly from the increasing pace of industrialization. Water pollution can result from erosion due to deforestation or urbanisation, industrialization and other human activities. Throwing garbage in the open seas, called marine dumping, is a concrete example of water pollution. It may also be the result of improper treatment and disposal of sewage and wastewater from households or the industrial waste from factories. Eutrophication, which is the enrichment of a water ecosystem with chemical nutrients, typically compounds containing nitrogen, phosphorus, or both, could lead to water pollution (“Eutrophication”). Oil spillage from ships, underground storage leakages, and radioactive waste from operations conducted by nuclear power stations, as well as mining and refining of Uranium are also other causes.

Neglect and indifference towards the preservation of our water resources may have negative irreversible long term repercussions and the human race is but to blame. While there is still available clean water to drink and pristine marine habitats, the race to conservation and preservation of such important natural resources should begin within each one of us.

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