Facing the threat of rising ocean acidity, fishermen around the world are stepping forward to protect the world’s dwindling seafood industry.
The global trade in fish has been in decline for decades, and there is no guarantee that any of the fish species that are harvested will survive the years of degradation.
The world’s fisheries are vital for a wide range of food and agricultural products, but their impact on the ocean’s biodiversity is already being felt.
In recent years, the fish industry has been increasingly threatened by invasive species, including salamanders, black bass and yellowfin tuna, which are often harvested with harmful chemicals and fertilizers.
But a growing number of fishermen are taking the issue of ocean acidification seriously.
They’re putting their own livelihoods at risk by fighting back.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, some of the most common fisheries in the world have seen fish stocks collapse over the last 20 years.
In addition to being among the most vulnerable, they are also among the least sustainable.
In order to protect themselves, many fishermen are adopting new techniques, including the use of biofilms and biocompatible plastic, which can reduce their reliance on chemicals and help them avoid further damage.
While many have become more aware of the risks of the industry, many others remain sceptical.
“I have seen a lot of fish farms in California, but we still don’t have a clear picture of what the impact is,” said Jazmin Hockaday, a marine biologist at the University of California, San Diego.
“If we can get the government to start to address the problem of pollution and waste, it could be a huge opportunity to save a lot more fish in the ocean.”
While many fish farms have been built and maintained for decades and often provide jobs, the majority of fish in our oceans are caught illegally and not fully exploited.
Many are sold in Asian markets or sold in pet shops.
Some fish farms rely on fish from unregulated sources, such as farmed salmon.
Others are operated by individuals who illegally harvest the fish in large quantities and sell it as “fish bait” in China.
“It’s really not clear whether they’re doing something that’s sustainable, or if they’re just not paying attention,” said Hockay.
The most common type of biofilm is a biocarbon polymer, which is an adhesive made of polystyrene and other ingredients that acts as a glue.
It can be used for many things, including fishing lines, hooks, sponges and even for making food for birds and other creatures.
Biofilms can also be used to catch fish from marine protected areas, which include fish hatcheries, marine sanctuaries and other habitats where fish are caught in protected areas.
But some biofilmmakers have been caught selling the fish without permits and selling the material to people in China, the Philippines and the United States.
“A lot of these biofilmed fish are going to be sold to Asian markets and Asian people, and we’re not even sure what they’re going to get,” said Jennifer M. Rabe, a conservation biologist at Virginia Tech.
Rabe has been working with fishers in the Pacific Northwest for nearly a decade.
She’s been documenting how these biofilm farms are being exploited and is particularly concerned that they are being used by Chinese people.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that most biofilmers are not inspected by the government.
“In some cases, it’s not even that they’re using biofilm, it is just that they have this fake seal of approval on it,” she said.
“We need to be more aware, because the quality of the products is just not good enough to tell if these fish are really going to live on them or not,” said Rabe.
As a result, many fishers are turning to “fishy fishing” and other methods of harvesting fish that have no commercial value.
“The people who are doing it don’t know what they are doing.
They don’t really know what kind of fish they’re harvesting, so they are using a lot less fish,” said M.R.
“The only way that you can protect your livelihoods is to be proactive.”
In the US, the number of fishers who have adopted biofilming techniques has doubled since 2015.
The technique has become more popular because the number and type of fish that can be caught is increasing.
Some fishers have even started to sell the biofilm material online.
“It’s a way to make money because it’s legal and it’s a really low-cost product,” said Michael M. Gomes, a biologist at Florida State University.
“I can tell you that it’s really inexpensive.”
However, there are some fish farmers who have tried to make it illegal to harvest fish in their fields.