Good Commercial Fisheries Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Science, Future, Water, Environment, World, Study, Ocean, Species

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/11

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Because the Antarctic region of the Southern Ocean has long been over-exploited by man, urgent action may be necessary to protect the future of its wildlife - much of which is unique. In the past, seals and whales were formerly hunted almost to the point of extinction. This has led to growing concern that commercial exploitation of existing fish stocks could bring about serious damage. (Owen, 2003).


Increased catches of krill and of fish in the Southern Ocean could cause a catastrophic collapse of the marine ecosystem of that ocean (Owen, 2003).
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) represent more than 20 nations and exists to balance conservation and commercial fishing interests in the Antarctic (Owen, 2003).
Krill (small, shrimp-like crustaceans) are the most important dietary item for many sea birds and marine mammals including seals, whales and penguins. The total krill biomass is estimated to be the greatest of any species on Earth, including mankind, and is thought to sustainable, even though the annual catch of krill is estimated at more than 130,000 tons (Owen, 2003).
Because krill contain enzymes that spoil the flesh after death, they must be processed immediately, which adds to costs, as does removing the unwanted shell (Owen, 2003).
Nations fishing for krill are also thought to be very interested in fishing for squid, which are thought to exist in large population is this area (Hogan, 2008).
Overfishing of selected species such as the krill can affect other species which depend on those species for their food (Ward, 2013).
A known overfishing example was that of the marbled notothenids and icefish around South Georgia. In 1969-70 the Soviet Union caught 400,000 tonnes, causing a rapid and long-term decline in those species (Ward, 2013).

Description of spatial interests

The CCAMLR has specified a Convention Area, within which commercial fishing is monitored and controlled. It comprises “all of the waters bounded by the Antarctic continent to the south, and to the north by a line starting at 50°S, 50°W and then due east to 30°E, then due north to 45°S, then due east to 80°S, then south to 60°S then to 50°W and back to the beginning. Importantly, it also covers areas beyond the Antarctic Treaty's 60 degrees South zone” (Discovering Antarctica: Overfishing, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.).
Krill fishing tends to be concentrated in the sea areas where the krill predators exist in large numbers, presenting a challenge to the CCAMLR in sustainable fish management (Southern Ocean Fisheries, 2014).

Description of interests over time

Climate change (global warming) and/or depletion of the ozone layer could have significant negative effects on the krill populations (Gascon & Werner, n.d.).
Krill fishing could expand rapidly in future as processing technology improves and demand for krill products increases (Gascon & Werner, n.d.).
Global expansion of fish farming or aquaculture (using krill for feed) represents a major future threat to the sustainability of Antarctic krill stocks (Owen, 2003).
Illegal fishing using longlining techniques with thousands of baited hooks are threatening the future of not just fish stocks but of albatrosses and petrels – many thousands are killed every year by this means (Owen, 2003).


Discovering Antarctica: Overfishing, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.
Gascon, Virginia & Werner, Rodolfo, (n.d.), Antarctic Krill, Lighthouse Foundation.
Hogan, C., Michael, 2008, Antarctica large marine ecosystem, The Encyclopedia of Earth.
Owen, James., 2003, Antarctic Wildlife at Risk From Overfishing, Experts Say, National Geographic News, October 28, 2010.
Southern Ocean Fisheries, 2014, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition.
Ward, Paul., 2013, Human Impacts on Antarctica and Threats to the Environment – Fishing, Cool Antarctica.
Bioprospecting is the act of searching nature’s resources to find new ingredients for foodstuffs, medicines, and other applications such as pesticides. Activities arising might include the screening of species of plants, animals or even microbes, extending to full-scale commercial development and of production of derived products. Organisms thriving in extreme environments (such as Antarctica) are of great interest in this area (Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011).
Because the Antarctic includes a range of extreme environments (mountains, deep seas and hydrothermal vents), organisms dubbed “extremophiles” found there are of special interest (Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011).
Providing positive benefits from Antarctic bioprospecting is a real challenge, because the bioprospecting activity could cause environmental harm, or could turn out to be unsustainable for large scale development (Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011).
Quantities required for development or clinical trials can amount to thousands of tons. Such amounts could be unsustainable (Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011).
There are no legally binding agreements regarding bioprospecting in Antarctica, but they are needed (Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011).
The terms of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) could be applied to any benefit-sharing arrangements that may arise from bioprospecting in the region, but as yet cannot be considered applicable in certain areas because it is a nationally constituted treaty and therefore does not fit with the international ownership concept which governs Antarctica. (Hughes & Bridge, 2010).
Bioprospecting may be undertaken for pure scientific purposes, but is more likely to be for commercial reasons (Hughes & Bridge, 2010).
Bioprospecting may becoma moral hazard for science in terms of the Antarctic Treaty System; for example if nations are tempted to keep their successes to themselves (Hemmings, 2010).
An Australian study successfully identified unique properties of microbial populations in Antarctica, which they found to be highly biodiverse. Their findings include how the organisms adapted to low temperature growth by producing polyunsaturated fatty acids and cold active enzymes. The study has since progressed into development of commercial applications for the pharmaceutical industry in treating human diseases (McMeekin, Nichols & Sanderson, 2001).
Description of spatial interests
The Lake Vanda area has sediments containing an alkali-tolerant yeast which has interested bioprospectors (Discovering Antarctica: Future of Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.).
The seas around Antarctica have been found to include some fish species which contain anti-freeze glycoproteins which could be useful in cold climate fish farms (Discovering Antarctica: Future of Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.).
Description of interests over time
Because there is growing interest in bioprospecting to discover genetic and biochemical resources from the Antarctic flora and fauna, pressures on Antarctica’s natural resources are very likely to increase in future – on the land and the sea, especially when commercial interests come to the fore (Discovering Antarctica: Future of Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.).
Sustainability is a primary concern for the future of bioprospecting in Antarctica (Discovering Antarctica: Sustainability, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.).
Antarctic Bioprospecting, 2011, Forest & Bird.
Discovering Antarctica: Future of Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.
Discovering Antarctica: Sustainability, British Antarctic Survey, n.d.
Hemmings, Alan, D., 2010, Does bioprospecting risk moral hazard for science in the Antarctic Treaty System?, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, Vol. 10: 5-12, 2010.
Hughes, Kevin, A., & Bridge, Paul, D., 2010, Potential impacts of Antarctic bioprospecting and associated commercial activities upon Antarctic science and scientists, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, Vol. 10: 13-18, 2010.
McMeekin, Tom, A., Nichols, David, S., & Sanderson, Kevin, 2001, Bioprospecting in Tasmania – A case study.
Because Antarctica is a vast, remote and isolated region of our planet and is frozen year-round, it is a highly important area of Earth in which to conduct scientific research. Some of that research undertaken is vital to the populated regions on Earth, even though it is done in those isolated and severe environmental conditions. Scientists need to be committed and of high quality to work there.
Scientists working in Antarctica have three basic principles to follow:
Important research done in the conditions there includes: increased levels of ultraviolet radiation, rising sea levels and satellite communications (Why Scientists Love Antarctica, n.d.).
Bearing in mind the harsh conditions there, crucial facilities for scientists working there include automatic weather stations (Why Scientists Love Antarctica, n.d.).
Scientists planning to live and work in Antarctica need to posses the necessary technical knowledge and capabilities, but also need to possess the appropriate personal qualities and be psychologically suited and physically fit (Jobs in Antarctica, 2015).
In many instances, scientists from different countries are required to work together (Science in Antarctica, n.d.).
Scientists working in Antarctica work on the continent that is the highest (average 7,500 feet), coldest and windiest continent on the planet, where 90 percent of the world’s ice is located (Coldest Place: Antarctica, n.d.).
Description of spatial interests
Antarctica is covered in an ice sheet as much as three miles thick and is jointly governed under a treaty signed by 45 countries (Antarctica, n.d.).
During the summer season, circa 3,700 scientists work in between 40 and 50 different research locations. That number falls to about1,200 in the winter (Antarctica, n.d.).
Description of interests over time
As mentioned above, the number of scientists working in Antarctica is reduced in the winter due to the severe climatic conditions (Antarctica, n.d.).
Future research includes attempting to better understand the causes of rising sea levels, and how the records trapped in the ice can be used to predict the future by analyzing the past (Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, 2011).
Future success in scientific research in Antarctica will require more scientific collaboration, to share findings, to share resources across disciplines and across public and commercial boundaries (Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, 2011).
Antarctica, n.d., Fact Monster.
Coldest Place: Antarctica, n.d., Extreme Science.
Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Jobs in Antarctica, 2015, Department of the Environment, Australian Antarctic Division
Science in Antarctica, n.d., Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Why Scientists Love Antarctica, (n.d.), Antarctic Connection.
Environmental Advocates
Antarctica and the seas surrounding it are home to over 10,000 species, including most of the world’s seabirds, whales and penguins. Environmental advocates have campaigned to protect the wildlife there, including creating a marine reserve. However, in 2013 a meeting of CCAMLR failed to reach agreement on the marine reserve issue (Antarctic marine reserves: Russia and China block plans, 2013).
According to ASOC – an environmental advocacy group – although the Ross Sea forms just 3.3 percent of the Southern Ocean, it is home for 38 percent of all Adelie penguins, 26 percent of Emperor penguins, over 30 percent of Antarctic petrels, 6 percent of Minke whales, and possibly over 30 percent of killer whales (Antarctic marine reserves: Russia and China block plans, 2013).
The Ross Sea also contains the greatest fish diversity in the Southern Ocean including no less than seven species which can be found nowhere else (Antarctic marine reserves: Russia and China block plans, 2013).
Environmental concerns include past contamination by human visitors to the continent and the need to reduce or avoid future human-related impacts, including on the wildlife (Ward, 2001).
In certain Antarctic lake locations, climate change in the form of global warming has shown the fastest local responses anywhere on Earth (Ward, 2001).
Increased break-up of the Antarctic ice shelves is posing an increasing threat through loss of habitat to animals dependent on them, such as seals and penguins (Ward, 2001).
Increased acidity of the seas around Antarctica is causing corrosion of the shells of marine snails. The acidity is thought to be caused by the burning of fossil fuels in the rest of the world (Antarctic marine wildlife is under threat, study finds, 2012).
Antarctic species are dramatically affected by climate change. Reduced krill populations negatively affect predators like the penguins who feed on krill. Furthermore the penguins breeding success is affected by changing weather conditions at their nesting sites (Climate Change and the Antarctic, 2014).
Description of spatial interests
Contamination of land and sea are major concerns. Refuse and pollution entering the sea thousands of miles away can end up embedded in Antarctic ice. And invasive species including rats brought in unintentionally are a threat to nesting seabirds (Ward, 2001).
Overfishing threatens the stocks of fish and krill. Illegal fishing in prohibited areas is a particular problem (Ward, 2001).
Description of interests over time
Future environmental control will be better as a result of an agreement called the Madrid Protocol, which requires that abandoned worksites be properly cleaned up, and environmental audits are being carried out at bases (and in the sea, too) (Ward, 2001).
Alternative energy sources are increasingly being used (especially wind power which is ideal for Antarctica). Also, protected areas are being established and codes of conduct are being applied for human visitors and workers (Ward, 2001).
Antarctic marine reserves: Russia and China block plans, 2013, BBC News: Science and the Environment.
Antarctic marine wildlife is under threat, study finds, 2012, BCC: Nature News.
Climate Change and the Antarctic, 2014, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC).
Ward, Paul, 2001, Human Impacts on Antarctica and Threats to the Environment – Overview, Cool Antarctica.

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