Kory Schlender, Contributor

By the year 2050, our world’s oceans could be completely void of life. No more coral reefs, no more seaweed, and most shocking of all, no more fish. Seaspiracy is a documentary produced by Kip Anderson that aims to show how humans are currently fighting a war with our oceans and unfortunately, we are winning. Most people think that the main risk to our planet and its ecosystems are the amount of carbon humans emit into the atmosphere. The reality, however, is far grimmer. Humans across the globe have been fishing for their food since the start of civilization. Overfishing our oceans seems almost impossible due to how vast they are, but the massive decline in fish populations over the last few decades is painting a much different picture.

There are currently laws in place to prevent overfishing. With 4.6 million commercial fishing vessels at sea however, it is very difficult for any of the laws to be enforced. This has had a devastating impact on our oceans fish populations. Sharks killed for their fins, have seen an 80 to 99 percent decrease in their populations in the last few decades. In this same timeframe the tuna population has plummeted to just three percent of what it used to be. The biggest problem with our overfishing comes from catching fish that we do not intend to, like sea turtles or dolphins. This is known as bycatch. When these animals get wrapped up in our fishing nets, they either are killed by the fishermen or die before they get thrown back overboard. 

Our oceans are very delicate and have a clear food chain. All the fish work together to nourish our oceans while keeping the fish populations stable. This also helps stabilize the rest of the planet’s ecosystems. If we kill off all the predators, like sharks, the entire system will implode on itself. Not only would the oceans dissipate into a lifeless swamp, but it would also exponentially accelerate climate change. 

Seaspiracy shines a spotlight on overfishing and how it has been hidden for so many years. What can we do as humans to fix this problem though? The answer is quite simple, but it will take all of us. The only way to reverse this trend is to greatly reduce or eliminate the number of fish we consume. With less demand for fish, there will be less commercial fishing and that in turn will reduce the amount of life we are removing from our oceans. Without sustainable fishing, we are rapidly approaching the point of no return. Without life in our oceans, it is likely that humans will not be able to survive. Not only would we lose a major food source, but we also would be destroying the delicate balance life so desperately needs to thrive on this planet. So next time you go out to eat or prepare a meal at home, think twice before choosing to eat fish. The lives of all humans quite literally could depend on it.