Fish Are Still Screwed


“Industrialized fishing is the driving force in the depletion of biodiversity in our oceans…Oceans have been exempt from rules that are so natural to us on land.” Because of the relative invisibility of life below the surface, most people never get to see it first hand, such as managers “who sit behind desks in Ottawa.”

Powerful words from Boris Worm, from one of the co-authors of a controversial report that projected the collapse of all of the world’s commercially fished stocks within 50 years. From November from the old DSN…

In case you didn’t know or needed more concrete evidence, fish are screwed. A recent study lead by Boris Worm, reports that by 2048 all seafood and fish species are projected to collapse (90% loss of catch). At the heart of this study lies data from a variety of sources-experimental data, contemporary catch data, and historical archives. Unfortunately, they all indicate the same thing, a 29% collapse of fish and seafood species. Although contentious, the authors warn of the impact to overall ocean productivity and stability. A number of other studies point to declined maintenance of water quality by biological filtering, the provision of nursery habitats, protection shorelines, and potentially harmful algal blooms, oxygen depletion, fish kills, and coastal flooding.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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One comment on “Fish Are Still Screwed
  1. To any reader that may not be aware, here is some statistics on capture. You can notice that since 1950’s, the capture has been increasing, so we got from about 17 million tonnes to almost 90 mt. Dire times.

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