The protection of ecologically important species is always a hot topic, people wonder how anyone can harm baby polar bears, tigers and elephants when they are “protected.” The answer is usually points to the corruption of individuals within the organizations set up to ensure the survival of a species or ecosystem. One such ecosystem is the ocean, which has already seen drastic changes due to global warming, extensive fishing, oil spills, energy exploration, and pollution. One of the biggest man made, totally preventable, issues that affect the Earth’s oceans is overfishing.

New research out of South Africa confirms that the delicate state of their marine stock is significantly worsened by Government corruption. Although several regulations are in place to prevent overfishing of certain species and to forbid fishing in certain areas research suggests that some inspectors, guards, police and regulators actually act as informants and take bribes.

Overfishing causes a drastic imbalance in the underwater ecosystem that has resulted in an increase of jellyfish blooms. In the 1960’s the overfishing of 10 million tons of sardines made a perfect environment for 12 million tons of jellyfish to flourish. Many of the jelly’s predators like sea turtles and tuna have declined and so have the smaller food competitors like sardines and herring. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization over 70 percent of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.

The most disturbing fact how the health of our ocean directly jeopardizes the livelihood and future food supply of land dwellers. We tend to forget that 71 percent of the Earth is water and that precious H2O makes up 65 percent of our bodies. More needs to be done on everyone’s part to prevent overfishing and promote Ocean health.

reefs in south africa

Underwater ecosystems like reefs may not exist in a few decades due to overfishing and pollution.