Overfishing in the GTA

     Is overfishing worth caring about? It is a very real issue, affecting families that were not intentionally contributing to the problem of overfishing. It’s so widespread that the GTA has even felt this shockwave left behind from fishing too much. It may not seem like it, but many people in the GTA know little about this overfishing problem, but there are still a few who do know. These people denounce it across the world, or attempt to make a change locally, either way, the concern varies.

     I believe that overfishing is a cause that needs more attention. Canada has about 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, a crazy amount, and much of this is located near the GTA. Species of fish specific to freshwater live here, and many of these fish are consumed. With the growing population of the GTA, I believe that overfishing deserves more and more concern as the days go by. The government has a strategy in action called the Ontario provincial fish strategy that guides, makes decisions and scientific priorities, and provides input into many other nature planning and policy. I believe that everyone should be concerned about this, as it will be a problem that affects everyone in some way. 

     Overfishing is a problem that has made many coastal cities suffer, and surprisingly Lake Ontario, a lake situated right beside Toronto, is a victim hit hard. Overfishing in Lake Ontario began around the 1800s, and ever since then, terrifying results have been displayed. All because of these activities, at least 10 species of fish went extinct and 15 new invasive species have been introduced in the last 200 years. The Kiyi fish are one of the species evidently stated to be extinct in Lake Ontario. In the 1980s, shockingly more than 40 communities across the Great Lakes were deemed as areas of concern, due to severe negative impacts upon the environment there. This is an environmental problem that must be changed, but it gets worse from here.

     Upon the most devastating discovery was when people noticed that Atlantic Salmon were suffering due to overfishing. These salmon are famous, with people all around the world coming to fish for them. Atlantic Salmon are one of the most favoured delicacies in Canada. It is eaten by people all over Toronto and the globe, whether it be their cultural food or food they just like. In order for these salmon to lay their eggs, they must travel to freshwater, and in this case that would be Lake Ontario. They start from the Atlantic Ocean, swim up the St. Lawrence River until they reach Lake Ontario. Since Atlantic Salmon are so favoured, fisheries have been going to an extreme extent to meet the demands, not just for Toronto, but for the whole world. The numbers have been decreasing since 1995, but it is still not enough as the numbers remain stagnant. Atlantic Salmon  a loved dish that many people enjoy, and the only way to cut down on overfishing for it is by making it more expensive, although this economically will have an impact.

     The salmon industry and the whole fishing industry in general is one of Canada’s main economic sectors. In 2016, Canada exported more than 6.6 billion dollars in seafood and fish across the world, and although Lake Ontario isn’t a fish exporting superpower, it still has many fish loved by people that aren’t found in bodies of saltwater, such as Bass, Trout, Catfish, etc. There are over 72000 people employed within the industry in Canada, and the numbers grow with more demand. This only results in more overfishing, so we must cut down our fish intake to revive aquatic life. The problem is that this would be devastating in a human aspect, as many people would be unemployed, the economy would plummet, there would be negative public relations, etc. Speaking of the public, how do they react to overfishing in general?

     I was able to interview a common man named Ali Kabir Jafri on the topic of overfishing. He lives in the GTA and eats a normal quantity of seafood. As a Mississauga citizen, he has some knowledge of the overfishing of fish, specifically sharks. He says, “Shark fin soup is a very famous dish worldwide, and since it is in high demand more and more sharks are being killed yearly.” The thing is, he only knows a few tragedies occurring within the GTA.

     The solution he believes to stop overfishing is to eat more vegan and vegetarian food. It is a big deal that he doesn’t know much about what is happening in Lake Ontario, because it is a catastrophe that keeps getting worse. There are little to none activists promoting this cause in the GTA. It is a serious threat, not locally, but for the whole world.

Works Cited

[1] Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. n.d. “Lake Ontario.” Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Lake Ontario

Waterkeeper. Accessed July 26, 2021.


[2] Bloomberg Opinion. 2019. “Overfishing Doesn’t Just Hurt the Fish.” Thestar.com. Toronto Star. April 14, 2019.


[3] Wikipedia Contributors. 2019. “Fishing Industry in Canada.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. January 17, 2019.


[4] Wikipedia Contributors. 2021. “Kiyi.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia. March 6, 2021.


[5] Contributors to Ontario’s Provincial Fish Strategy. 2017. “Ontario’s Provincial Fish Strategy.”

Ontario.ca. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. July 25, 2017.