Fisheries in Crisis
It is now widely accepted that commercial fisheries are in a state of decline worldwide. 80% of the world fish stocks are over exploited or exploited to their maximum, this was indicated in The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report (SOFIA) from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released in 2008.
Total world marine capture fisheries for 2006 was estimated at 81.9 million tons, down from 2005 which was around the 84 million ton mark, the average for the past decade. Aquaculture production, however, has been on a steady increase since 2000 and in 2006 contributed more than a third of the total fish production (wild caught and farmed). There have also been a growing number of papers published in top scientific journals addressing the impacts and issues around overfishing.
Perhaps the most worrying trend is that some fisheries have failed to show any signs of recovery even after many years of protection. The best (or worst) example is the northwest stock of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) which in Canadian waters has been closed to fishing since 1990, and is now listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).