We tend to think of the oceans as a never ending source of abundance that has been put there for us to harvest, well that just isn’t the case!
According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund, The oceans fish population is suffering mass extinction at the hands of human over fishing.
Another report published in The Journal of Science predicts that the fish population could totally collapse by as early as 2048. As the demand increases for seafood amidst an ever increasing global population, sustainable fishing is just not possible.
Want to see how severely we humans are scouring the oceans for fish? Check out this striking map from the World Wildlife Fund’s 2012 “Living Planet Report.” The red areas are the most intensively fished (and, in many cases, overfished) parts of the ocean — and they’ve expanded dramatically since 1950:
To measure how intensively these areas are fished, Swartz et al., (2010) used the fish landed in each country to calculate the primary production rate (PPR) of each region of the ocean. PPR is a value that describes the total amount of food a fish needs to grow within a certain region. (WWF)
Between 1950 and 2006, the WWF report notes, the world’s annual fishing haul more than quadrupled, from 19 million tons to 87 million tons. New technology — from deep-sea trawling to long-lining — has helped the fishing industry harvest areas that were once inaccessible. But the growth of intensive fishing also means that larger and larger swaths of the ocean are in danger of being depleted.
Daniel Pauly, a professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia, has dubbed this situation “The End of Fish.” He points out that in the past 50 years, the populations of many large commercial fish such as bluefin tuna and cod have utterly collapsed, in some cases shrinking more than 90 percent.