Fisheries

For centuries people have benefited from the wealth of the seas but today many worry that we are placing undue burdens on the marine ecosystems. This is not just about the overfishing of individual stocks but about where and how we catch fish. Criticism mainly centres around bottom trawls and the deep-sea fishery that allegedly cause severe damages to the marine environment and to fish stocks.

The first of a planned three volumes on North America's freshwater fishes is a detailed study of the species within the families Petromyzontidae (lampreys) to Catostomidae (suckers). The book focuses on similarities in the species' morphology, behaviour, and genetics and their physiological peculiarities, among other aspects. Despite the complexity of the subject, the clear language and superior illustrations make this a volume for scientists, students, and fish enthusiasts alike. 

Nearly 27 million tonnes of algae and aquatic plants – a source of important ingredients for medicines, cosmetics and foods – were produced worldwide in aquaculture in 2013. Algae farming is work-intensive but not very lucrative. In some regions, however, it is one of the few possibilities for earning a living without having to make larger investments. For example on Lembongan, one of over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia.

Fishing is one of the oldest ways by which people have fed themselves and their families. In a certain sense the original idea of the individual hunting for fish has survived to this day in sport fishing. Whereas in the past, however, people fished only for self-sufficiency, fishing is today also a form of recreation and a leisure activity for millions of people. That makes sport fishing a billion dollar business with enormous commercial importance.

The Arctic is one of the last original ecosystems that has so far not been commercially exploited to a significant extent. This is not the result of reason or rationality but solely thanks to the region’s inaccessibility beneath the metre thick crust of ice. This effective protection is now threatened: climate change is causing the ice to melt and opening the gate to lucrative resources that are presumed to exist there. But this also increases the dangers facing the icy waters in the realm of the polar night and the midnight sun.

The Danish eel fishery is struggling to cope with the challenges it is facing. Some of these are specific, such as the short validity of the eel fishing license, while others, such as predation by seals and cormorants, affect the coastal fishery at large.

The U.S. government in October released the latest edition of its annual statistical yearbook on commercial fisheries, Fisheries of the United States 2015. The annual report is the latest in a series going back many decades, and presents statistics on fish and shellfish species landings, production of leading seafood products, production of aquaculture and industrial products, U.S. exports and imports, and national per-capita consumption of major fisheries products. In addition, the report contains information on global production, trade, and consumption.

Europe has several wild and unspoilt areas that are a paradise for nature-lovers. The Baltic states and Poland with their abundant water and forests have among the best examples of such areas, which attract people from near and far. They come to interact with nature, to walk, gather mushrooms, hunt, and above all to fish.

Climate change is having a deep impact on living conditions in the oceans. The average water temperature of the seas is rising, Polar ice is melting, water bodies are acidifying, water layers are more stable and mix less well, and low-oxygen zones are expanding. The effects of these changes are a source of increasing stress for fish stocks. Spatial shifting of populations and altered species composition within marine ecosystems are to be feared.

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