Did you know that an estimated 17% of the global protein is provided by fish? In many developing countries that number is closer to 70%; the demand for fish steadily increases with human population. Not only are more people depending on fisheries for the most important source of protein, but, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the amount of fish individuals eat has also gone up from 10 kg in the 1960s to more than 19 kg in 2012 and has continued to rise. Also, according to the FAO: “The renewed focus on the so-called “blue world” comes as the share of fisheries production used by humans for food has increased from about 70 percent in the 1980s to a record high of more than 85 percent (136 million tonnes) in 2012.” If you would like to read more about this issue from FAO here are two articles: FAO article #1 (Opens in new tab)* (Links to an external site.) and FAO article #2 (Opens in new tab)* (Links to an external site.)
An increasing human population is putting stress on fisheries through overfishing; however, that is not the only way we have a negative impact to fisheries. As we burn fossil fuels to create our electricity and move ourselves and goods from place to place, we add mercury to the the atmosphere. This mercury is then washed from the atmosphere with rain and ends up in our waters. This leads to bioaccumulation by individual species in our oceans, and biomagnification as the mercury moves up the food chain.