Starvation has plagued a large proportion of today’s world. As droughts prevail in the Horn of Africa and war continues in nations including Syria and South Sudan, there are several overlapping causes that are contributing to this massive epidemic. One major cause that is also leading to food shortages is the way humans are using the ocean and what it has to offer. As a result, tensions among the relationships of certain countries with each other are rising.
In China, seafood is a large commodity and a necessity as it comprises of an extremely large portion of the average person’s diet and plays an integral role in Chinese culture. In order for China to be able to supply seafood for its people as well as those demanding it from them abroad, China has attempted to fish or has fished on other ocean territories as the New York Times reports, “Indonesia has impounded scores of Chinese boats caught poaching in its waters, and in March last year, the Argentine authorities sank a Chinese vessel that tried to ram a coast guard boat.”
Aside from agriculture, many individuals, especially those who reside on the coast of their country, rely on the ocean for their primary means of food. The New York Times also goes on to discuss how pursuing agricultural practices in Senegal has become increasingly difficult in recent times due to the current drought. Thus, seafood dishes are growing to be more widespread throughout Senegal. Usually, a diversification within a national economy is preferred. When an economy is diversified, supply shocks will not affect the nation as severely as it potentially could if that single commodity was holding that economy together. In addition to Senegal’s climate problems, a mixture of other nations illegally fishing in their territories—notably China—along with people from Senegal fishing an excess amount has led to further complications and hardship among people in Senegal who are simply trying to obtain the food they need.
The New York Times also writes, “These days, more than 100 large boats work Senegalese waters, a mix of European, Asian and locally flagged vessels, according to government figures.” Due to climate change and the environmental irregularities it has caused, several nations have reached a point where they must compete against each other to obtain the resources needed to simply survive.
It is clear that rather than political differences, the root of this problem is environmental. Humans have implemented boundaries and lived by them on both ocean and land. Until humans figure out a strategy that will eradicate this unnatural climate change, issues regarding natural resources will continue to resurface and ignite more conflict among nations of all sizes. Perhaps humans must resort to minimalism and cut out the excess food, water, and shelter that either need not be consumed, utilized or goes to waste. While this simple living method may help reduce consumerism and can potentially work, it requires a collective effort from all communities that occupy Earth. This “collective effort” is highly impractical so humans must figure out some alternative, more realistic way.
Altogether, overfishing is a severe problem and is a byproduct of climate change, consumerism, and other factors. Tensions between Senegal and China are heavily on the rise and other countries are bound to get more involved in this conflict for resources needed for basic survival.