AbstractThe aim of this research to investigate whether the publicare aware of the impact that overfishing has on the ecosystem. A questionnairewas used to test people’s knowledge on overfishing. Most participants out ofthe 25 demonstrated that they were aware of the impact of overfishing on theecosystem. The conclusion was that most participants were aware of the impactof overfishing on the ecosystem but it cannot be extrapolated to the wholepopulation due to the small sample size.
Introduction/backgroundSustainable development can be defined as “The developmentthat meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of futuregenerations to meet their own needs” (sdcommission.org.uk). There are manyissues that relate to sustainability. This research project will look at anexample such as overfishing.
Overfishing can have many detrimental effects onthe world and everyday life and these negative effects can be narrowed down tothree main categories. Overfishing can affect the world in an economic, socialand an environmental sense. This research project will explore the awareness ofthe public’s view on the impact overfishing has on the ecosystem.
It is crucialto find out how aware the public are on this issue so that people can raiseawareness in the future. Background research has been carried out to help forma basis for the methodology. So what isoverfishing and what is the ecosystem? Overfishing is simply catching anexcessive amount of fish such that the population of fish in the ocean cannotsustain and therefore leading to a depletion of fish stock in the market(overfishing.org). An ecosystem is all the living organisms that share anenvironment, which in this case would be the ocean (vocabulary.com).Overfishing is an issue that exemplifies the definition of sustainabledevelopment as common knowledge dictates that catching more fish will easilymeets the demands of consumers.
According to Jetson (2014) “fisherman have beencatching a prolific amount of fish at a faster rate that they can reproduce”and therefore not allowing the ocean to replenish. Further statistical evidencestates that “in 2002 72% of the world’s marine fish stocks were being harvestedfaster than they could reproduce” (Shakouri et al 2010). It is easily comprehensible that overfishing can lead to adepletion of fish stock in the ocean; however, according to fisheries biologistDouglas Hirdson from BBC news (2006), overfishing can distort the whole foodchain and therefore affect other marine life as other predators have less tofeed on. This will distort the whole ecosystem. According to the news article”Global fish stocks could be almost eliminated within 50 years if currenttrends continue, says a major scientific study”It is said that fishing in the past was more sustainablethan it is in the modern day as fisherman didn’t have the resources and hi techfacilities to dig deep into the ocean to catch a greater amount of fish to meetthe increasing demands of consumers (Jetson 2014). As technology and newmethods have progressed throughout the years, fisheries are making use ofadvanced methods that allow them to catch large amounts of fish with lesseffort (eschooltoday.com).
Many of the larger scale commercial fishing methodscan have a greater impact on the ecosystem than others such as the small-scalemethods as these catch an abundant amount of fish(Britishseafishing.co.uk). Nevertheless,many of the modern commercial fishing methods can be extremely unsustainable asthe methods involve bycatch (britishseafishing.
co.uk). Bycatch occurs whenunwanted fish are caught between the nets while fishing for different species;an unsustainable practice (thefreedictionary.com). However, according to True(n.
d.), there are many sustainable fishing methods that can be used whichreduce harm to the ecosystem such as Hook and lining, Traps and Trollingmethods. But can such methods meet the needs of consumers? Not only do theselarge-scale modern methods catch an excess amount of fish, a lot of fisheriescan lose their nets in the sea. The lost nets often lead to many fish beingtrapped by the nets and end up killing many fish and other sea life. Thiseffect is known as “Ghost Fishing” (eschooltoday.com). According to an articleby the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, an estimated150,000 crabs are lost each year in the Chesapeake Bay of the United States.
The article also claims that “fishing gear makes up about 10%(640,000 tonnes)of all marine litter.” (fao.org). MethodologyFor this research report, a questionnaire has been chosen asthe method of data collection. The reason for using a questionnaire as themethodology is that it is cost-effective. It is also very practical as thequestionnaire can be distributed to many people relatively easily.
As opposedto other method of collecting information such as an interview, thequestionnaire has the main advantage of being very practical as an interviewwould be very time consuming to interview every participant in the sample. Thequestionnaire will be designed using google forms.The main objective of the questionnaire is to test theparticipant’s knowledge on the topic of overfishing and to find out theirthoughts and opinions on overfishing and the effect on the ecosystem. This willensure that the data that is collected will suffice to answer the question andto draw meaningful conclusions. The sample audience can be open to anyone asthe purpose of this research question is to test the awareness of the public.
The sampling method that will be used for this research will be an “opportunity”sampling method. An opportunity sampling method is a method that chooses thosewho are most available or convenient to the researcher therefore it would bethe easiest sampling method to use. Thequestionnaire will be distributed to 25 people, as this is a large enoughsample to collect feedback from.
One of the key questions that will measure the awareness ofthe participants is for them to estimate the percentage of the global fishstocks that are overfished / depleted. This will provide summary statistics aswell as quantitative data. Other questions that will test the public’sknowledge is to find out how far they would agree with a statement that istrue.
Results/Data analysis Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree 10 11 4 0 0 40% ofparticipants (10 out of 25 participants) strongly agree.44% ofparticipants (11 out of 25 participants) agree. 16% of participants(4 out of 25 participants) gave a neutral opinion.Noparticipants disagreed with this statement. Percentage estimate % 15 18 20 21 23 24 25 26 40 27 50 30 30 35 33 34 37 37 40 45 47 48 55 58 85 Percentage estimate % Frequency (f) Midpoint (x) fx fx^2 10 < 20 2 15 30 450 20 < 30 7 25 175 4375 30 < 40 7 35 245 8575 40 < 50 5 45 225 10125 50 < 60 3 55 165 9075 60 < 70 0 65 0 0 70 < 80 0 75 0 0 80 < 90 1 85 85 7225 25 925 39825 Percentage estimate % Frequency (f) Cumulative frequency 10 < 20 2 2 20 < 30 7 9 30 < 40 7 16 40 < 50 5 21 50 < 60 3 24 60 < 70 0 24 70 < 80 0 24 80 < 90 1 25 25 Mean = 37% Standard deviation = = 15.28 % Q1 = 26.
5% Q2 = 34% Q3 = 45% IQR= Q3-Q1 = 18.5% Many participants expressed their opinions on the impacts ofoverfishing. Majority of answers were along the lines of “Endangering to sealife” and “Extinction”.
Some answers were that it can affect us economically.When asked about their thoughts on the impact it has on sea life some peoplethought that something should be done about this issue as “Laws need to beenforced to reduce overfishing” and “Needs to be monitored closely”. When askedabout whether they do anything to help the issue, majority of participants saidNo. Discussion/EvaluationAfter collating and analysing the data, there is much to besaid that determine whether the results can answer the research question. Oneof the essential and fundamental questions on the questionnaire was “Are youaware of the impacts of overfishing?”. The majority of participants gave ananswer that was related to damaging sea life and extinction.
This providesevidence to support that they are aware that overfishing has an impact on theecosystem. However, there were a few participants that were unsure of theimpacts of overfishing thus providing contradicting evidence to suggest thatnot all participants are aware. However, on the following question “What areyour thoughts on overfishing and the impact it has on sea life?”. Virtually allparticipants gave answers that portray overfishing in a negative light and somesuggested that there should be something in place to reduce overfishing.
Another question on the questionnaire was to find out how fara participant would agree with statement “Fishing for a particular species willdistort the whole food chain in the ecosystem”. From collating the data into abar chart and a pie chart, It can be seen that most participants either ofagree or strongly agree. By adding up the percentages, 84% of participantsagree or strongly agree and no participants had disagreed with the statementwhich provides strong evidence to support the research question. However, fromthe pie chart, 16% of participants were unsure of this statement.
The data fromthis question refers to the background literature where Douglas Hirdson fromBBC news who had stated that overfishing can have an impact on the wholeecosystem. The statistics above that were collected (84% agree or stronglyagree), shows sufficient evidence to support the statement.One of the questions asked participants to estimate how muchof the world population are overfished/depleted. The mean percentage estimate,calculated via the grouped frequency table, was 37%. This was a relatively highmean percentage estimate which supports the fact the participants are awarethat overfishing is a threat to the ecosystem and relates back to Jetson andShakouri’s findings that fisheries are fishing faster than they canreproduce. However, the drawback ofusing the mean as an average is that extreme values or anomalies can easilydistort the value of the mean. In this case, this seems to be true as oneparticipant gave an answer of 85% compare to the second highest which was 58%according the raw data. A better estimate for an average is the median whichwas calculated through the cumulative frequency graph because it does notconsider anomalies and rather focuses on the middle of the data.
The median(Q2) was calculated to be 34%. The standard deviation was also calculated fromthe grouped frequency table. The standard deviation measures how much the datadeviates from the mean and in this case, it was calculated to be 15.28%.
Thisshows that there was a lack of consistency in the data as it varied away fromthe mean. This provides evidence to show that many participants have adifferent view on how much of a problem overfishing is to the ecosystems asthere was such a variance in answers.The methodology used to carry out the data was aquestionnaire. There are some drawbacks to using. One drawback is the fact theparticipants may respond to “Demand characteristics” This is where participantsmay work out the aims of the research and deliberately put down answers to tryand meet the expectations of the researcher and thus will distort theresponses/results. Another problem withthe methodology is the sampling method used to collect data which was theopportunity method. This could have been an unrepresentative of the wholepopulation as participants were chosen by convenience.
It could be argued that the sample was not large enough torepresent whole population. This is true; however, it will be impracticallyfeasible to collect data from the whole population. Nevertheless, thepopulation mean for the percentage estimate can be somewhat estimated using amathematical formula called the central limit theorem which can determine wherethe population mean can stand. However, to get a more accurate result, we wouldneed to increase the sample size to a large amount. Another flaw in themethodology is the sampling method that was used. An opportunity samplingmethod chooses those who are most available to the researcher and in this case,a lot of students were selected. Students typically represent a younger agegroup and as result, this sampling method cannot be representative of thetarget population.ConclusionsFrom the qualitative and quantitative feedback given by theparticipants, the majority gave responses that demonstrated knowledge that hadshown that they are of the impact of overfishing on the ecosystem.
However, itwould not be plausible to extrapolate the results to the whole population asthis research dealt with such a small sample size. For further improvements,using the central limit theorem would be appropriate to predict the certaintyat where the mean population estimate would lie. However, to increase thecertainty, the sample size would need to be increased. It would be morereasonable to extrapolate all the results to the population if a large samplesize is used.
To conclude, the majority of participants out of the 25 wereaware of the impact of overfishing on the ecosystem. ReferencesSustainabledevelopment commission, (n.d.) What issustainable development. 31st March 2011 sd- commissiononline Accessed 24th November 2016 http://www.sd-commission.org.
uk/pages/what-is-sustainable-development.html Jetson, K. (2014) Impact of Overfishing on human lives. April 9th 2014 Marine Society Today online Accessed 1st December 2016 http://marinesciencetoday.
com/2014/04/09/impact-of-overfishing-on-human-lives/ Shakouri, B. Yazdi,S. Fashandi, A.(2010) 2-4th November 2010 conference, section 1. Accessed 1stDecember 2016 online http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
ezproxy.mmu.ac.uk/document/5649533/Published in 2010 2ndInternational conference on chemical, biological and environmental engineering eschooltoday,(n.d.
) What is overfishing?(2010-2015) eschooltoday.com online Accessed 6th December 2016 http://www.eschooltoday.com/overfishing/what-is-overfishing-for-kids.html Overfishing.org,(n.d.
) Overfishing- a global disaster(2007-2012) Overfishing.org online Accessed 14th December 2016 http://overfishing.org/pages/what_is_overfishing.php Britishseafishing.
co.uk(n.d.) Commercial fishing methods.Britishseafishing online Accessed 14th December 2016 http://britishseafishing.co.uk/commercial-fishing-methods/ thefreedictionary(n.
d.) Bycatch (2003-2008)thefreedictionary by farlex online Accessed 18th December 2016 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bycatch Food andagriculture organization of the united nations (2009) Ghost nets hurting marine environment.
online Accessed 18thDecember 2016 http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/19353/icode/ Vocabulary.
com (n.d.) Ecosystem(1998-2016)Vocabulary.com online Accessed 24th December https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/ecosystem British Broadcasting Corporation (2006) Fear and hope over fishing report 3rd November 2006 BBCNews online Accessed 24th December 2016 http://news.
bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6113156.stm eschooltoday,(n.d.) Impact of overfishing(2010-2015) eschooltoday.
com online Accessed 20th December 2016 http://www.eschooltoday.com/overfishing/impact-of-overfishing.html True, M. (n.
d.) Sustainablefishing methods (2016) Sunset online Accessed 7th January2016 http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/flavors-of-the-west/sustainable-fishing-methods AppendicesCopy of questionnaire PDP SummaryWhen I first started the foundation year, I had alwayswanted to improve my time managements skills. The reason for this is so that Icould keep to a dedicated revision timetable. By taking the psychometric test,I found out that I usually “go with the flow” of things. To keep to a dedicatedrevision schedule, I had set small goals using smart targets so that I couldease myself into a revision schedule and slow but surely, I had ended upfollowing a revision schedule for the whole of term 2.
Along the way that hadhelped me succeed in creating a timetable, is limiting the amount ofdistractions so that I can be more productive. By filling out my PDP, I hadidentified what my distractions are and how to deal with it. One of my flawsthat I have improved upon is being able to understand and critically evaluatethe work of researchers. I feel as though I have done well in understanding theliterature and being able to create arguments as I had carefully researched mytopic/research question.