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U. Rashid Sumaila; Daniel Pauly

Published On


Page Range

pp. 177-184

Print Length

7 pages


Only now, as innumerable species of fish face extinction, are we realizing that their supply is not inexhaustible. The industrial revolution spawned trawlers that were no longer reliant on the natural elements for their power and hoovered up the vast, easily accessible supplies of coastal biomass. Today, the well-oiled machine of commercial fishing, pressed on by the economic imperatives of national fishery departments, forges ever further into deeper water and distant latitudes, laying waste to entire marine ecosystems. When fish stocks began collapsing all over the globe from the mid-twentieth century onwards, greater attention was paid to the effects of vast mechanized ships, totally removing entire webs of biodiversity and indiscriminately damaging habitats with fishing equipment. As ever, implementation has fallen far short of global agreements on quotas and protected marine areas. Governments either do not realize the implications of what marine scientists are telling them or are beholden to powerful fisheries lobbies. At the present rate, industrial fishing will continue to decimate fish populations, with insufficient time for overexploited populations to recover. This will have tragic effects on the diversity of cascading marine food chains, with predictable, and inevitable, consequences.