Between 1950 and 2014, almost six billion tons of fish and invertebrates have been captured from the oceans. This is one of the data of the ‘Living Planet 2018’ report, which today presents the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a diagnosis of the environment that is published every two years.
The annual catch increased from 28 million tons in 1950 to 112 million tons in 2014. The increase goes hand in hand with demand. Since 1800, the world population has increased sixfold, to 7,600 million and the economy is 30 times greater, says the document.
The marine researcher Fernando Felix says that the increase in population causes greater pressure on nature, which provides services worth about $ 125 billion a year, according to the WWF. In Ecuador, a large part of the industrial fishing fleet includes observers on board who check catches and follow up. The problem is that the information they collect is not always available, adds Felix.
Therefore, it is difficult to determine if certain species such as sharks are caught incidentally, especially by artisanal fisheries.
Although the WWF report focuses on the world’s industrial fleet, the specialist affirms that in the country it is necessary to focus on the artisanal fleet. “There are approximately 30,000 artisanal vessels that do not have observers, most are not registered, there is not a complete census of the ships, of the fishing gear used, that is the main problem for the country,” he adds.
The report details two problems to be faced. “First there is the cultural challenge. For a long time we have thought that nature is a gift, “says Marco Lambertini, general director of the WWF in the prologue of the report. The second is that it cannot continue to ignore, he says, the impact of unsustainable production.
The problem of overfishing is compounded by the loss of habitat on the earth’s surface that has more species on the verge of extinction. The report indicates that there is a 60% decrease in population sizes of vertebrate species between 1970 and 2014. This is more pronounced in South America and Central America with a loss of 89% compared to 1970. A little more of 25,000 species of the more than 60,000 evaluated are threatened, but in the world it is estimated that there are 1.3 million known species.
A quarter of the Earth is free from the impact of human activity. It is estimated that by 2050 it will be one tenth.
There are fewer bees and other pollinators, which has soil biodiversity, essential for food production, at risk. (I)