How overfishing threatens the world's oceans—and why it could end in catastrophe
Decades of harvesting the seas have disrupted the delicate balance of marine ecosystems—despite global efforts to mitigate the damage.
Scientists have long been sounding the alarm about a looming catastrophe of ocean overfishing—the harvesting of wildlife from the sea at rates too high for species to replace themselves. Yet for two decades, global leaders have been at an impasse in their efforts to reverse the damage that has been done.
Marine scientists know when widespread overfishing of the seas began. And they have a pretty good idea when, if left unaddressed, it will end badly. Here’s a look at the critical issues in overfishing—from its effects on biodiversity to the limited successes of mitigation efforts.
The earliest overfishing occurred in the early 1800s when humans, seeking blubber for lamp oil, decimated the whale population around Stellwegen Bank, off the