Overfishing: An Educational Calendar
ECO_CARE meets the University of Turin’s most creative students
The “ECO_CARE meets…” blog edition for the month of April 2023 gives space to a creative project developed by a group of students from the University of Turin, Business and Management Degree. The students attended the course held by Margherita Poto on Administrative Law and the Agenda 2030 and developed a creative project connecting SDG14 and SDG2. A tangible way to proactively think about water challenges and develop concrete solutions from the perspective of environmental education. The students created the 2024 calendar edition, with QR codes and lessons for each month, hinting at the possibility that, through good education, the challenges of the Agenda 2030 could be solved within 2024.
Here below is their personal story about the project.
Overfishing: An Educational Calendar
By Anna Barbero, Teodor Bargaoanu, Gian Tommaso Bella, Giuliano Bertolotto Bianc, Arianna Bray, Jacopo Saretto
At the beginning of March, our team was assigned the task to research “SDG 14 - Overfishing, and connections with SDG 2”. The goal was to gather information on the topic and to present it to our colleagues and professors in any form we preferred. Fond of the idea to create something tangible rather than a dull PowerPoint presentation, our team unanimously decided to bring a product as the result of our research. We thus began our creative process. While brainstorming, we noticed a couple of Lavazza calendars hanging on the walls of our University’s cafeteria (for those who don’t know, Lavazza makes special calendars each year that convey a theme linked to coffee using significant and original photos and pictures). Intuition struck us: why not create a calendar ourselves? A calendar is suitable for people of all ages, as it is very easy to interact with it, either digitally or physically. The creation of the calendar was a long process: we first had to decide its structure and its graphical layout, and most importantly what the calendar would convey to its users, and only afterward we divided the workload between us.
To accomplish all the tasks we did several meetings, both in person and online.
Download our calendar for free!
We didn’t want it to be full of body text so we decided to insert a simple QR code for each month where the users could find an overview of the topics we encountered. Since our vision was to follow a logical journey throughout the months, we began in “January” by describing the overfishing problem and we concluded in “December” by finding possible solutions and giving suggestions on how to be more sustainable. Here you can find the list of all the themes presented in the calendar:
February: Overfishing methods
March: Fishes at risk
April: Unsustainable fishing methods
June: Fishing around the world
July: Situation in the mediterranean sea
August: Sustainable seafood
September: SDG 2
October: SDG 2 - fishing and aquaculture
November: How you can protect marine wildlife
December: Sustainable fishing
Copyright free picture used in the calendar
BUT WHY OVERFISHING?
This project comes from a University assignment: the professor gave us the main topic, from which we had to develop a full project. Overfishing is one of the most pressing issues regarding ocean flora and fauna, which is then linked to the health and sustainability of the food that we eat. Here is a brief explanation of what overfishing is:
“Overfishing is the practice of catching fish faster than they can reproduce, leading to a decline in fish populations and potentially even the collapse of entire fish species. It is a significant problem that has arisen due to the increase in demand for fish and seafood worldwide, coupled with advances in fishing technology that have made it easier to catch more fish in less time. Overfishing can have severe ecological and economic consequences, including the loss of marine biodiversity, the collapse of fisheries, and the loss of jobs and income for communities that rely on fishing. To address overfishing, it is essential to implement sustainable fishing practices, such as limiting catch quotas, using more selective fishing gear, and creating marine protected areas to allow fish populations to recover.” By producing and sharing this calendar we wanted to make people aware of overfishing and how disastrous it is. In addition, we wanted to give them suggestions on how to make a difference regarding this issue, by changing habits in their daily lives. For example, consumers should be aware of the fish’s provenance and what to look at when buying them, to be able to recognize which ones were fished using sustainable methods.
Copyright free picture of unsustainable fishing methods
- Bottom Trawling
Also known as “dragging”, bottom trawling refers to the process of dragging a fishing net along the seafloor, catching all sea creatures that reside there. It usually takes place in international, unregulated waters with the help of fishing trawlers. This method is usually favored by big fishing companies, due to its success in catching large quantities of fish at once. For this exact reason, bottom trawling falls under the umbrella of overfishing practices.
Additionally, it is described as unsustainable due to its inability to target specific species. According to Greenpeace, juvenile fish, turtles, and inedible species are accidentally caught and killed. Moreover, deep-sea coral forests are often destroyed thanks to the weighted nets that are dragged along the seafloor.
- Cyanide Fishing
As the name describes, this is a fishing method that involves spraying a cyanide mixture into a fish’s habitat to stun fish and catch them alive. Cyanide fishing does not only hurt the target population but also all nearby marine organisms. When used in coral reefs, it can be destructive. Cyanide fishing is illegal in most countries, and it is a major overfishing contributor because of its effects on entire marine habitats.
- Dynamite Fishing
Known also as “blast fishing” or “fish bombing”, dynamite fishing is an overfishing practice that uses explosives to stun or kill schools of fish at once.
Blast fishing is unsustainable because it disrupts the food web of an entire ecosystem, while also destroying coral reefs. At the same time, it is a dangerous fishing practice for humans, since it results in a great number of injuries every year.
Copyright free picture on dynamite fishing
- Ghost Fishing
Ghost fishing is more terrifying than actual ghosts. It does not refer to an actual fishing method but to the effect of neglectful fishing practices. Whenever a net or other type of fishing gear is discarded or lost in the ocean, it will continue trapping, entangling, and killing marine animals and often destroy fish habitats. Ghost fishing is described as an “unsustainable fishing practice” for all these reasons.
By-catch or bycatch is not a fishing method itself but rather an effect of overfishing practices. The term describes the capture and/or mortality of species that were not meant to be caught. In other words, the fishing of unwanted fish. Countless dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and other animals are “sacrificed” in an attempt to catch a specific type of fish. This unnecessary killing is often called “by-catch”.
The month of April 2024
There are many actions that people can take to reduce this problem. Both fishermen and consumers should consider these suggestions so that the outcome could be significant and big enough to make relevant changes. We hope that, with our simple product, we can start spreading awareness in this field, making more and more people conscious of the marine ecosystem and the species that live in it, and how we can thrive as humans without hurting and destroying the planet.
This post may be cited as "Anna Barbero, Teodor Bargaoanu, Gian Tommaso Bella, Giuliano Bertolotto Bianc, Arianna Bray, Jacopo Saretto, Overfishing: An Educational Calendar, April 2023", online: here.