The Overfishing Challenge

The Overfishing Challenge

What is “overfishing”?

Overfishing means fishing redundantly (im Überfluss). When overfishing occurs, significant population of fish will diminish and will completely disappear.

Overfising doesn’t just affect fish, fishers and people who love eating fish but it damages the whole ecosystem.

How does it have an impact on animals?

With modern fishing techniques fishers get great amounts of side hunt. “Side hunt” is a term that means “capturing other kinds of fish and sea creatures among the wanted fish breeds”. Fishers don’t want to capture side hunt because those fish have low financial values and they die from fishing webs.

For example, according to the statistics with 1 tonne of shrimp that have been caught by fishing boats there are also 3 tonnes of other kinds of fish getting captured. And dolphins are especially defenceless against tuna fishing techniques and therefore thousands of dolphins are dying each year.

As the fish population has decreased so much, many other species have been placed at risk, because their major food source is lacking.

What are the consequences of overfishing?

  • If overfishing continues, fish populations will be reduced even more, no matter what measure are taken
  • Overfishing not only depletes the fish but seriously harms marine environment
  • Because the fish population has decreased so much, many other species have been placed at risk, because they now lack their major food source.
  • If the world continues with overfishing, one of our major food sources will get extinct.
The Overfishing Challenge
The mesh in the fishernet are way too small.

What would be sustainable Fishing ?

This is how unsustainable fishing looks like.
This is how unsustainable fishing looks like.
  • Inventory preserving fishing: Only catch that much fish that can regrow in natural way again.
  • Avoid ‘Side Hunts’: Catching methods should be specialized on their species.
  • Don’t harm the ecosystem: low consequences on the seabed
  • Good Managment: Adjustment of fishing quotes to fish stocks, respect the law

How much fish gets caught all over the world? In Switzerland? In Turkey?

The fish consumption all over the world per head is about 16.4 kg in one year. [1]

In Turkey the fishing consumption per head is 8kg in one year. Turkey ranked seventh place in Europe in 2013 in terms of the volume of fish caught in the sea, they don’t need to import anything to consume. [2]

In Switzerland the consumption per head is about 9.2 kg per head in one year. Most of the fish gets imported because the inland fishing covers only  6% of the consumption. [3]

The Overfishing Challenge
Interview with Mr. Zollinger


We had the possibility to do an interview with a professional Fisherman from Switzerland.

We prepared some questions and could get some new information.

We had a very interesting day at the ‘Berufsfischerei Greifensee’

19th of January, Interview with Roland Zollinger from ‘ Fischerei Greifensee ‘

Is Overfishing a problem in Switzerland?

„Overfishing isn’t a problem in Switzerland because we’re doing it sustainably, we do not overfish.“

Are there any rules for fishing?

„Yes there are different rules in Switzerland. That’s also a reason why we don’t have overfishing problems. The mesh in the fisher net can’t be too closely, because the smaller fish shouldn’t be caught. Also every fisher net which gets thrown in the lake, has to be controlled first from the experts and after that you can throw the net out in the lake.“

Are you interested with this problem ?

„I respect the rules and I know if we only catch fish without thinking sustainably, the fish will get extincted.“

Do you think Switzerland is a good example for sustainable Fishing?

The Overfishing Challenge
That is how the water canal looks like, where he keeps the catched fish till he needs them for selling.

„Yes because the rules are strict and the fishermen follow these rules.“

Is Switzerland an attractive country for fishing ?

„There are many lakes in Switzerland and many of them have good water quality, so because of that Switzerland is attractive for fishing, but it’s clear that you can catch more out in the sea.“

How do you catch the fish?

„We throw the fisher nets in the lake. These nets stay in the lake for a time, after some days we go and collect them and the fish get stucked in there. A good catch is 50-100Kg.“

How do you keep the catched fish ?

„Normally the fish will get killed and will get prepared for selling but if we catch many fish, we keep them in our special water canal and get them out if we need them.“

Overfishing can be stopped !

After the interview with Roland Zollinger we learned more about overfishing. But the most interesting thing was that the rules are very strict in Switzerland. Fishermen have to follow these rules because they can loose their licence as professional fishers if they don’t follow them. We compared our interview with the one from Izmir and realized that it is similiar to the situation there.  The only difference is that in Izmir they face real overfishing problems and that might be because the fishermen don’t follow the rules. We think that if in every country the rules were stricter and the controls tightened, overfishing could be reduced.

Thank you for reading!

Arianit and Praphat ( Team Zurich )

Eda and Melisa ( Team Izmir )


[1] World Consumption ( )
[2] Turkey Consumption (
[3] Switzerland Consumption (

2 thoughts on “The Overfishing Challenge

  1. Hi! Your text is very interesting and well written. Because of the partition the article is very understandable und pleasant to read. I knew that the laws in Switzerland are strict but I have not expected that the fishermen have to let their fisher nets checked. It would be interesting to see in which country the fish consumption is highest, because Switzeland and Turkey are below the mean. In my opinion we have to pay attention that the laws in Switzerland not get harder, because then the Swiss fishermen can not survive and we have to import even more (the Inland fishing will reduce, although today it covers only 6 % of our consumption).
    Thanks and best regards!

  2. Hi! The article was very interesting to read. I was surprised about the amount of “Side hunt” catches. The fact that the inland fishing only covers 6% of our consumption is astonishing. In my opinion we can contribute to reduce the overfishing by buying products which are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for example. Information on these organisations would certainly be very helpful. Thanks and best regards.

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